On March 26, South Africa began a 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of COVID19, with no one allowed to leave their house except to buy food or access medical services.
This moment is extremely hard on many of us, but it will be especially hard on domestic workers, many of whom have been dismissed without pay in recent days.
Domestic workers are the backbone of the South African economy, the people who make nearly all the other work in our society possible. And yet, they are often paid poorly and under the table, and denied their basic legal rights.
Pinky Mashiane is the founder and director of the United Domestic Workers (UDW) of South Africa, an informal union that advocates on behalf of domestic workers in Pretoria and around Gauteng. She is also a domestic worker herself. In the past two weeks, she has heard from dozens of domestic workers whose employers are refusing to pay them during the lockdown. She expects to hear from many more in the coming days.
My name is Ryan Brown. I’m an American living in South Africa, and I met Pinky last year and learned about her about her incredible campaign to get this country’s domestic workers the rights and pay they deserve.
Together, Pinky and I are fundraising with a very simple goal – to provide each of the laid-off members of the UDW with a basic payment of R4000 ($225) that she and her family can live off of during our country’s lock down.
Any amount you contribute will go directly to affected domestic workers. Ryan will transfer funds from her US bank account (where GoFundMe deposits the money) to her South African bank account, and then directly to the bank accounts of the domestic workers. We do not take a cut. Pinky has prepared and carefully vetted a list of women who need assistance. We will transfer money directly to their bank accounts or ewallet facilities. We are keeping and are prepare to share with our donors records of exactly how the money is spent.
If you are South African and wish to contribute by EFT, please send the money to the following account:
Account Holder: Ryan Lenora Brown
Account Number: 62490065648
Branch code: 250655 (Braamfontein)
Reference: DOMESTIC WORKER HELP
(And please send an email to [email redacted] so we can thank you for your donation!)
Thank you so much for your help, and for sharing our campaign with your friends and family. We will get through this together <3
(Photo credit above to Ihsaan Haffejee/New Frame)