Regarding the virus, ‘lockdown’ in the UK has been in place for almost two months now. There are still long queues for supermarket shopping and most other shops and banks, and all restaurants, cinemas, libraries, gyms and other public places are closed. Only shops selling essential items such as food are allowed to open, and some of the banks open with restricted hours. Many people are working from home, apart from those designated ‘key workers’. Children on the whole are being home schooled, with teachers providing learning materials on line. Some children – those of key workers, and others deemed ‘vulnerable’ are attending a pared down school with skeleton staff and limited activities. People have been told to stay at home and only leave for medical attention, food shopping or exercise. Needless to say, some are flouting the rules and endangering others. The death rate currently stands at more than 30,000. The government is currently working on a strategy to lift some of the restrictions but its details are not yet known.
As I work from home it hasn’t made as much difference to me personally as it has to those who work away from home, but along with many others, I miss the company of friends and family.
Because of the virus, all teams planning to visit Project Gateway in 2020 have had to cancel. This understandably has had a massive financial and economic impact on Project Gateway, as we rely heavily on the monies that teams bring to help us create employment, provide food and practical assistance with repairs and maintenance for the poorest of the poor in Pietermaritzburg and the surrounding townships.
Many of the British workforce have been furloughed or laid off, which means that people are struggling to pay rents, mortgages (bonds) and provide for their families. Obviously this has a knock on effect on giving, with less money coming in; people are not able to donate as easily.
However, the critical need for food in South Africa remains a priority, and we call upon all who are still able to give to the poor to do so as a matter of urgency. Thank you.
GATEWAY UK TRUST
About the author:
Sally joined the Project Gateway team in September 2008, but her heart for Africa began many years before that when at university she became friends with someone that had grown up in Kenya. It sparked a desire to visit and spend time there, but life happened – Sally started her career as a teacher, keeping her ambition to spend some time in Africa at the back of her mind.
In 1996 the Partridges, friends from her church in Harrow, England headed out to South Africa to become part of Project Gateway, and were followed in 2000 by Larry and Sheelagh Surtie from the same church, who left the UK to become involved in Gateway Christian School. Larry became the school Principal. Sally took a keen interest in what they were all doing, and in 2000 visited South Africa and Project Gateway for the first time.
The following year, Sally, who was running the youth work at the church in Harrow at that time, took a team of teenagers out to Project Gateway. From then on Sally visited South Africa every year in August, during the school summer holidays. Staying with the Surties, she spent her time at Gateway Christian School making resources for children with Special Educational Needs.
In 2008, Sally made the decision to quit her job as Head teacher and go out to South Africa indefinitely. She stayed with the Surties before buying her own home in Pietermaritzburg. She stayed for six years, until family circumstances required her return to the UK. Much of Sally’s work is computer based, so she is still very much involved with Project Gateway, and now also heads up the UK fundraising Trust.