Wth Covid-19 placing vulnerable communities at risk, stay-at-home mum, Dr Bryony May, resolved to come up with a plan to help slow the spread, and Soap4safety Together aginst Covid-19 was born.
“It started with a passion to assist our neighbours in vulnerable communities, to help them to reduce the spread of Covid-19, says Dr Bryony. “With overcrowding and communal living and hygiene spaces – communal taps and communal toilets – social distancing is an extreme challenge, but with correct hand-washing with soap, these communities have a proven weapon against the spread of Covid-19.
“I asked (for permission) to collect soap at my children’s school, Somerset College, and to ask well established NGOs to distribute the soaps, but my one orange collection box almost ground to a halt as it was suddenly the last day of school with just a few hours notice.”
Undeterred, Dr May turned to the community for help. “Gareth Baird at the Caltex garage in Heldervue kindly agreed to place the box on the forecourt and soap collecting continued, and so the initiative gained momentum.
“By collaborating and sharing with Somerset College parents through our networks, the team has grown to 23 people, all with big community hearts, and all contributing our skills to the project.
“Some team members work in marketing, and this gave an added boost to the project. Their collaboration enabled us to have beautiful branding and marketing visuals and social media exposure to fulfil our mission of supplying soap and education on the imperative of thorough hand-washing for 20 seconds, singing happy birthday twice while doing so,” says Dr May, adding that each soap benefits about seven people.
“When we can, we also distribute donations of buckets and water containers, because in some areas up to 250 residents share a tap, and 150 residents share a toilet.
“It’s 2020 and we have water now in Cape Town. Now we just need to help everyone across our community to add soap.
“We started with one box but that’s now grown to 16 at collection points, thanks to the kindness and community spirit of many store and centre managers, and homeowners’ associations, and all of the collection boxes have been brightly decorated by families in Somerset West.
“Soap4safety partnered with NGOs Masikuhle, Thembalitsha, Love to Give, and the Pebbles Project, to distribute the soaps in vulnerable communities, and to teach people the correct hand-washing regimen.
“I guess the take-home message really is that social distancing is (actually) physical distancing to reduce spread of the coronavirus, but it’s the time to come closer as a community. Everyone has skills, their sense of community spirit, especially Capetonians, so we should all do that one small thing for the greater community.”
Soap4safety collection points
Kwikspar Paul Roos
Pick * Pay Stellenbosch Square
Caltex Garage, Abelia Street, Heldervue
Woolworths and Pick * Pay, Waterstone Village
Checkers Vergelegen Plein
Pick * Pay and Diskem, Somerset Mall
Croydon Vineyard Estate
De Wijnlanden Estate
De Velde Estate
De Zalze Estate
Direct donations and additional collection points
Anybody who would like to donate directly, or establish a new collection point, can contact Dr Bryony May on 071 293 8964, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.masikhule.org