Deep poverty in SA; where not even dogs survive

Another 47m women and girls will likely be plunged into poverty globally as a result of Covid-19, head of United Nations Women, South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, recently warned. She said women have lost their jobs at a faster rate than men during the pandemic, because they are more likely to be employed in sectors hardest hit by long lockdowns, such as retail, restaurants and hotels.

Women are also more likely to work as domestic workers and cleaners, jobs that often come with little or no health care, unemployment benefits or other protections, she said. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s warning is reflected in SA’s statistics. At least 250,000 domestic workers have lost their jobs, reports GroundUp, and 2m women became unemployed in April alone, a study led by the University of Stellenbosch found.

Behind the data are gut-wrenching stories of extreme desperation. Listen here, to Marilyn Bassin of Boikanyo: The Dion Herson Foundation, who has been supporting efforts to get food to rural communities where people are so hungry that emaciated young children have ‘days off’ eating so babies don’t starve. Places where not even the dogs have survived.

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