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SweepSouth has launched a fund to help provide domestic workers with food and other essentials during the national lockdown. The launch of the fund has been aided with a R6 million contribution from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which invested in SweepSouth in 2019.

According to SweepSouth’s co-founder and Chief Executive, Aisha Pandor, about R4 million a month would be needed to ensure that SweepStars and their families meet their day-to-day living costs during the lockdown. Like everyone else, domestic workers in South Africa rely on their income to put food on the table for them and their dependents. The cost of necessities such as groceries and other essential expenses all add up. Research suggests that over 70% of domestic workers are single mothers and over 80% are the primary breadwinners for their household. SweepSouth’s annual survey shows that domestic workers spend on average R1 100 on monthly groceries. Thus, if these workers are not paid during the lockdown, they will face poverty and mounting debt. SweepSouth simply cannot allow SweepStars and their children to be left to this fate.

They aim to raise R12 million to contribute to SweepStars’ living costs for three months. Their financial difficulties will extend far beyond the 21-day lockdown. Therefore, it’s important to mitigate this as much as possible. They are calling on all businesses and willing individuals across South Africa to join them urgently in helping domestic workers. The initial injection of funds will enable SweepStars to receive weekly financial support in the form of top-ups between R150 and R450 during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Pandor says that the platform is negotiating with retailers to secure bulk buying discounts on basic food staples to maximise the buying power of the funds they have available to them.

The SweepSouth platform is geared to allow customers to continue contributing to domestic workers during the lockdown. The response has been positive, with over 40% of customers choosing to continue to provide support to SweepStars. So far, SweepSouth customers have contributed over R100 000.

Originally written by Dhivana Rajgopaul, IOL

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