Why South Africa’s Social Sector Needs our Help
When it comes to issues like poor sanitation, lack of housing, limited access to energy or unsatisfactory healthcare – problems faced by millions of South Africans – if it doesn’t affect us personally, our response is too often to hand these responsibilities over to someone else. But it comes a time when we need to step up and help out.
And that time is now.
In the face of Minister Bhatabile Dlamini and the Department of Social Development’s recent failings, it is more obvious than ever that any real difference in Social Africa’s social sector needs to come from us – the people. We can no longer rely on government for sufficient social funding, adequate support for NPOs, the correct distribution of resources – or simply to keep pertinent promises.
We must take matters into our own hands and empower ourselves to help our fellow citizens.
Problems faced by South Africa’s Social Sector
There are now over 170 000 registered NPOs in South Africa with numbers steadily on the rise. But when it comes to promoting and protecting our country’s human and environmental rights, there are many struggles they endure.
Those working in South Africa’s social sector have to constantly adapt and innovate, finding new ways of competing with an ever-growing emphasis on for-profit organisations. The neo-liberal Post-Apartheid GEAR (Growth Employment and Redistribution) policy placed the need on civil societies to organise their own social and economic strategies rather than relying on the state. And the recent Department of Social Development and consequent SASSA crisis is indicative of this can’t-care-less attitude.
NPO’s now have to fill a democratic vacuum as they try to deliver on the promises our government cannot.
NPO’s face issues of corruption, lack of resources and funding and the inability to cover staff wages. All of these are obstacles to be overcome before even considering the greater issues of nation-wide inequality and poverty- the very problems they’ve been created to alleviate.
How can we help South Africa’s Social Sector?
As the size of states and market economies increase, the urgency to respond to citizen’s needs at a human level has increased exponentially. But where there are people – there is power, and with modern technologies and communication channels, we are more empowered than ever to help our fellow citizens out.
Below are 4 innovative ways we can empower ourselves to give South Africa’s social sector the helping hand it needs.
1. Fund-raise Innovatively
Gone are the days of door-to-door collections or selling girl scout cookies. There are now so many awesome ways of gathering donations. Create a cause and register it on Kickstarter or Thundafund or consider one of these creative and fun ways of raising funds.
2. Organise Private Events
Don’t wait for social workers to start a campaign, take matters into your own hands by creating and promoting events in your own community. Organise a beach clean up, set up a for-charity garage sale with neighbours in your street or take a trip with colleagues to visit the elderly at a local retirement home.
3. Maximise Social Media
Social media has become the most powerful modern soapbox. Sign up, step up and make your cause heard! A quick search on Facebook and you’ll find a variety of community groups to join, events in your area to support and pages to follow. Can’t find what you are looking for? Create your own page to rally followers or create an upcoming event in your area.
5. Volunteer in Your Community
Now this is where Brownie Points steps in! With us on your side you’ll never feel helpless in the face of South Africa’s social crisis again. In just a few clicks you can sign up, connect with our growing list of NPO’s and discover a volunteering opportunity that’s close to your heart and matches your interests and skill sets.
South Africa is a country rich in diversity, where people from many different walks of life have had to learn to live together. A country that converges a multitude of religions, ethnicities, ideologies and histories. But in many cases, rather than unite us, our differences have served to divide us. Inequality, poverty, and destitution has sprung from the cracks of a separated nation.
It’s our job now to fill in these gaps and help repair our country’s people.
Find out more about how Brownie Points works, and how just one small action by you can make a huge impact on South Africa’s social sector.
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