Dear Litoro Community,
We are writing to update you on the impact of COVID-19 on the mentorship and tutoring programmes at Litoro Foundation and the steps being taken to address this.
There is no denying that COVID-19 has seen the world at their knees as we suffer in this enormous humanitarian crisis. COVID-19 has seen the devastating loss of thousands of lives, increasing unemployment and terrible economic consequences affecting many families and nations at large. The overall depression continues to cause severe pain to all citizens of the world.
In this very dark situation, we at Litoro are trying our very best to continue to keep sane, optimistic and innovative. Hence, this email has been curated to communicate what Litoro plans to do given the Corona pandemic. As we are aware, South Africa is a 21-day lockdown, with all the country’s operations coming to a halt except that of essential services. The lockdown is said to end on the 16 April 2020, however, there is a possibility this could be extended. At Litoro we believe that it is part of our core mission to ensure we continue to help in these unprecedented times. We, therefore, decided to reach out to our mentors, tutors and the Litoro leadership to brainstorm ways to move forward. Thereby the way we have decided to move forward is an accumulation of responses from all parties involved.
From now until the end of April 2020, Litoro will go “virtual”. What does this mean? There will be no face to face contact with the mentors/tutors and their scholars until the end of April (We will re-evaluate at the end of April). Furthermore, all proposed events have been postponed until further notice. At this point in time, the mentorship programme is our first responsibility to ensure the scholars are supported in this distressing time. This “virtual” programme is the first of its kind for Litoro and therefore please allow for mistakes and challenges to arise.
MENTORS: will be expected to communicate with their mentees once a week minimum. The channels of communication include: Whatsapp, SMS, phone call or online means (if possible). We encourage the mentors to understand that this is a very sensitive time for our scholars and that we should focus on supporting our scholars in any of their needs, concerns etc.
We further have designed a 14-day “LitoroConnect Fun Challenge”, that can be sent to the scholars in one part or you can communicate with them as it goes. This is not compulsory for the scholars to do, but we have designed it as a way to keep them entertained, enlightened and busy whilst indoors. Thank you to Ambar van der Wath and Alexa Orton for pioneering and executing such a brilliant programme. Please find the PDF attached to be shared via Whatsapp or email to your students.
TUTORS: will be expected to communicate with their mentees once a week minimum. The difference between the tutoring and mentoring programme however is that the tutors will be asking the mentees if they need assistance with any of their academic work. We will not put any pressure on the kids to do work they do not want to do and the tutors will merely be there to help with answering questions and provide academic guidance.
We hope that in time to come we will be able to distribute more resources to them, however, are constrained due to the limited access to the internet.
But it does not end there. On the 31st of March, we received an email from Nomonde Tshamlambo, a woman who runs Likhwezi Educare Centre and Aftercare, with the distressing news that many of the children who attend the aftercare are stuck at home with little to no food. Nomonde has taken it upon herself to buy fruit and vegetables for some of her students who are struggling the most. The food supplies for a lot of her students are very scarce and she estimates that by the 9th of April many of them won’t have much at all. She also mentioned that giving these children easter eggs will help boost their spirits and give them faith that things will get better soon. Therefore, we launched our “Virtual Easter Campaign” and are raising funds to provide these 75 families with basics such as fruits, vegetables, bread, tinned food, soapand toothpaste. We have already raised R22 458 for this cause and will cap this donation at R25 000. To contribute to this cause or to the future of our LitoroConnect scholarship programme please go onto our GivenGain Platform: https://www.givengain.com/cc/litoro-foundation-2020-easter-donation-drive/ or find the SnapScan code on our Instagram page.
We understand this is a difficult time for everyone. Therefore, if anyone in the Litoro family has any issues or concerns, please reach out to us. If you do not have airtime to make a phone call to one of your mentees or need to chat with someone, we are here for you just as much as you are here for Litoro.
Yours in solidarity,
Kaila Fourie (Litoro Foundation Executive Director) and Savannah Cozzi (LitoroConnect Manager)