The Situation

Ubuntu Pathways provides transformative health, education, and household stability services to children and their families in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Ubuntu has redefined mainstream development models to break the cycle of poverty by focusing on the depth rather than breadth of their impact on a community of 400,000. Over the past 21 years, their theory of change, the Ubuntu Model, has professionalized Ubuntu’s grassroots service delivery. Currently, Ubuntu is supporting 2,000 children on pathways out of poverty, from cradle to career.

Since inception, Ubuntu has experienced its share of challenges, from political unrest to staff capacity to economic downturns; but nothing comes close to the global threat they face with COVID-19. The pandemic poses the potential to absolutely ravage their community in South Africa, a country with the largest HIV population in the world and one of the highest burdens of TB.

The Roadblock

In response to the current crisis, Ubuntu Pathways launched a comprehensive Emergency COVID-19 Response to provide essential medical and psychosocial services to the most vulnerable. Throughout the crisis, food security emerged as one of the biggest challenges to their community. Even under the best of circumstances, the families they serve struggle to secure nutritious food. Transportation in the townships is expensive and inaccessible. With social distancing measures in place, people lack the means to travel safely and buy food. Unlike those in more affluent communities, the families they serve do not have the financial resources to stockpile food and supplies. The lockdown has seen unemployment, job instability and domestic abuse soar overnight in South Africa. Most devastatingly, as a result of job losses, breadwinners and their families also face food insecurity.

Open Road's Response

With a charitable grant of $25,000 from ORA, Ubuntu Pathways was able to pivot, expand their reach, and launch a food assistance program supporting up to 5,000 people in the townships of Port Elizabeth (the program has grown to almost 30,000 people to date). Additionally, Ubuntu provides emergency medical services, including  life-saving HIV treatment for 458 clients and ensures  healthcare and psychosocial services for immuno-compromised children and their families.

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