With vulnerable South Africans and small businesses being the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTN SA Foundation launched a major national initiative to give back and offer lasting support to the communities that MTN serves. This past week saw the MTN SA Foundation contributing food and personal protective equipment (PPE) in KwaZulu-Natal to help limit the spread of the virus and keep more people safe and healthy.
MTN’s Y’ello Hope programme has one thing in mind: To brighten more lives and make a meaningful difference in the key areas of health, food and water security. The programme has been scheduled to run for the full months of June and July, and is aimed at providing a wide range of interventions, while assisting many people across all nine provinces in SA.
Thanks to this initiative, the MTN SA Foundation contributed R100,000 for food to be handed over at the Masisizane Service Centre, a non-profit organisation that primarily provides day-care services to pensioners and orphans in the Inanda community.
Furthermore, MTN employees in the region enthusiastically collected funds, in their personal capacities, to contribute to the programme beneficiaries. A regional MTN MoMo (mobile money) account was opened for the staff to transfer their donations into. This resulted in an overall staff collection of R11,000 which was used to purchase additional vegetable combos from the local Ndundula Fruit and Veg Market.
This market was identified as the provider of food for the Masisizane centre to hand over to community members. Ndundula is owned by women, from the same community, who have lost income due to COVID-19.
These contributions saw around 200 child-headed households in Inanda receiving food parcels last week. It also helped to inject some much-needed funds into the Ndundula market so that it could provide PPE to the women selling fruit and vegetables, in addition to paying for the food handed over at the Masisizane centre.
“At MTN we believe that everybody deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The hardship caused by COVID-19 cuts deep and has hindered many hopes and dreams for people. Now is the time for us all to work harder together to provide support,” said Ernest Galelekile, MTN Regional General Manager in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The beneficiaries of Y’ello Hope are all in disadvantaged areas and are facing severe socio-economic challenges. What COVID-19 has highlighted is that the immediate challenges faced are lack of adequate health resources, food security due to loss of income, and clean water in several communities. We’ve committed ourselves to help in a structured, tangible way, that makes sense in our province, and bring back hope.”
In addition, the Y’ello Hope programme is focused on providing virtual support to SMEs that are being crippled by the restrictions on trade resulting from the lockdown. Key business units within MTN will give selected SMEs a lifeline and assist in creating new job opportunities.
Through this part of the programme, MTN employees have been, and are still, able to pledge their time and expertise to businesses in need of assistance during the months of June and July. They will continue to offer support to identified businesses struggling with IT problems, or in need of accounting, legal, marketing, social media and other specialist skills.
Over the past several years, MTN has run its immensely successful ‘21 Days of Y’ello Care’ staff volunteerism programme, between 1 and 21 June each year. The main focus of this programme was around empowering young South Africans during Youth Month.
“KwaZulu-Natal has not been spared from the devastating effects of the pandemic as poverty, inequality and unemployment worsen. So, in addition to supporting a range of government-led relief efforts over the past few months, MTN and its staff aim to do far more. Together, we can ensure a brighter future awaits our province, our country and its people,” concluded Galelekile.