The Ubunye Challenge: Food For Families

Food is essential for humans and stands first among all basic needs.

Imagine not being able to feed your children or yourself.   This is the unbearable plight currently faced by many highly vulnerable families in the Eastern Cape, the poorest province in South Africa.

Help us feed these families and provide them with the tools so they may get back on their feet and feed themselves.

Our “partner on the ground”, the Ubunye Foundation, has identified eight hundred families in great need of help procuring food. Through their Food Relief program they are acquiring donations of food and delivering them weekly to rural communities in Ngqushwa and Makana.

Major ChallengeFood is being distributed weekly but with numbers increasing and many located in remote villages, there is an urgent need for an off-road vehicle to ensure delivery of the food boxes.  The extremely rural locations cannot be adequately served by the aging vehicle currently in use.  Its on its last legs and cannot navigate the off-road routes!  The demand for food during this crisis is great and therefore the vehicle used for transport is a critical factor.

Vehicle: The aim of this campaign is to raise US$10,000 towards the purchase of the urgently needed vehicle.

The cost to acquire will be US$20,000*.  A generous donor has agreed to match every dollar you donate today up to US$10,000.
*The quoted price includes a tracker, off-road tyres, insurance and takes into account that some funds that will be realised from the sale of an old vehicle that is unsuited for off-road use.

In addition to the new vehicle making a huge difference in current food delivery, it will also be a part of a longer term solution in the future.  Once the immediate food crisis has passed the new vehicle will be used for accessing all communities to service the existing and new ECD centres.

The Families in Need
The families live in communities that have had to contend with a five-year drought, devastating HIV and TB incidence and mortality.  In many cases, deaths in families have left the elderly to look after young children.  There is chronic unemployment and accompanying poverty.  These communities were already facing extreme hardship before the corona virus arrived and lockdown restrictions began.

Katy Pepper of Ubunye Foundation: “We were making headway with successful livelihood programmes, savings groups creating local financial resources for business and enterprise development, an improving community health service with motivated community health workers and financially independent, community-run Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres.  We were moving towards full food security. But the lockdown has largely destroyed all these strides towards long term recovery and sustainable development.  Jobs have been lost, businesses are bankrupt and no income is being generated in an already impoverished community. It has returned communities to dependence on external help to survive.” 

“We have to start over, again.”

The Food Relief Program
For the past two years the Ubunye Foundation has been providing breakfast and lunch to 388 children attending the Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in these communities.  The breakfast porridge and rice cereal lunch are provided by two NGO’s. The ECD centres, located in remote villages where childhood education was previously inaccessible, are supported by the Ubunye Challenge. When the COVID infection caused lockdown and forced closure of the ECD centres as learning facilities they were transformed into food supply depots. Teachers, parents and community partners began delivering food to the children’s homes.

Expansion of the “Food Relief” Program
From the beginning of the lockdown these partners reported that many vulnerable families were struggling with food supplies. By mid-March 443 families were identified as being in urgent need of food supplies.  The Program was expanded to include the additional families.  Additional donations of food are continuously being sourced and more families in great need are being reported weekly. Lockdown restrictions have led to people losing jobs.

In addition to food, hand sanitizer and face masks (produced by the Ubunye Foundation) as well as learning materials for the children have been added to the food delivery.


Going Forward: Communities Sustaining Themselves  
The Foundation will soon begin to distribute materials for tower gardens and vegetable seedlings so that communities can start growing their own supply of vegetables.  They will work with local Spaza shops (similar to a convenience store) to reopen with a basic grant to restock and to source the local vegetables for resale. The plan is to work towards negating the need for continuous food relief. 

Ubunye Foundation
Established in 2002 this is a non-profit organisation based in the Eastern Cape with a reputation for innovative programs led by rural communities.  Their work focuses on leadership development, savings Groups and financial education, livelihoods, integrated early education and health.  Currently their program work in the villages is being severely hampered because their one suitable vehicle is helping with the expanded Food Relief Program.  The other initiatives include weekly provision of health care to isolated areas, delivery of equipment, cloth and other supplies to their business enterprise groups and running of monthly micro MBA courses to local women to name a few.  Learn more:

About Ubunye Challenge:
Founded in 2012 by South African Cameron Bellamy , the charity focuses primarily on the provision of early childhood education in poor and isolated areas in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Cameron grew up in a privileged suburb in Cape Town and often saw children his own age not attending school. This had a profound effect on him and led to the birth of the Ubunye Challenge years later. In the past eight years, Ubunye Challenge, together with partners Ubunye Foundation and Vimba has helped with the construction and running of nine early childhood development sites in the Eastern Cape of South Africa as well as a primary school and secondary school in Zimbabwe. Learn more here: 

The Ubunye Challenge Team: 
A group of volunteers, several of whom are of African heritage, sit on the Board that administers the Charity. To meet the team visit here: 

The Eastern Cape
According to the South Africa Gateway: South Africa’s poorest province is the Eastern Cape. Around 880,000 of the mostly rural Eastern Cape’s people live in poverty with many of these people living below the food poverty line.   This is the “rand value” below which people are unable to buy enough food to give them the minimum daily energy requirement for adequate health.  

The Eastern Cape was in trouble before the pandemic. Read more here: 



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Cameron Bellamy 
San Francisco, CA
Friends of Ubunye Inc 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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