Collaboration through various charities has meant a further reach on projects and this has lead to thousands of lives saved during the lockdown.
Johannesburg, South Africa (18 July 2020) – CONECKT, which stands for Charitable. Opportunities. Networking. Employability, Connecting Kindness through Technology, is a social enterprise company that uses technology to develop different platforms to connect and network with corporates, donors, charities and NGOs. The focus is on those involved in empowering and uplifting the most vulnerable, marginalised people in our communities. These include children, ex-substance abuse users, the aged, people with disabilities and the neurodiverse population.
The start of Gauteng Together, a triumph in networking and CONECKT-ions.
CONECKT networks organisations big and small to help them achieve their potential. One of the most powerful examples was the formation of Gauteng Together after the Covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020.
Gauteng Together was established in response to concerns about how the poor and vulnerable of South Africa would cope with the lockdown. It began when CONECKT made contact and offered support to an ex-pat living in Switzerland, Nadia de Lange, who had created a care-mongering strategy to help during the pandemic and beyond. CONECKT’s already existing network of 250 NGOs, mental health care professionals, teachers, skills development organisations, financial institutions, trustees and government officials jumped on board to help.
Naomi, CEO and founder of CONECKT, created a new WhatsApp group that included the most powerful, creative, educated, well-connected women that she knew. Aptly called the “do-ers”, this group included (among others) Glynne Wolman of The Angel Network, Karen Landi from Eight, Alta Mcmaster from Epic Foundations, Amanda Blankfield- Koseff of Empowervate, Debbie Cockrell of Slovo Centre for Excellence, Nix Van Rooyen from ECD projects FNB and 4Given, Nerissa Roberts from For Good and Mariska van der Walt from Provincial Department of Social Development. In parallel, Nadia established Jozi Together, a Facebook page promoting viral kindness where people connect with their local community and identify ways to help each other, assist the most vulnerable and share wisdom, hope and compassion.
The power of connection was obvious when Glynne from the Angel Network suggested that they meet with the team running Cape Town Together, a network of Community Action Networks (CANs) across Cape Town. It was a masterstroke, the Cape Town team helped provide the framework and supporting documentation for what would become Gauteng Together and then, Jared Rossouw from Cape Town Together suggested that the team speak to the Kathrada Foundation.
Before long, CONECKT’s MD Diricilla Naidoo had facilitated a meeting with the Kathrada Foundation. The result was a partnership between the Kathrada Foundation, CONECKT, the Angel Network and Nadia’s Jozi Together. This was the beginnings of Gauteng Together, an initiative driving solidarity rather than charity to reach the vulnerable in communities across Gauteng.
Gauteng Together, which was launched by the Gauteng Premier, David Makura, on the 16th April, already has 100 CANs, who are working to support their local neighbourhoods and partner with communities across class divides to combat hunger, gender-based violence and violence against children, isolation, the emotional and psychological impact of the pandemic, and the effect of children’s being out of school for prolonged periods.
Currently, with affiliations to over 500 NGOs, skills centres, therapists, and social workers CONECKT’s reach is vast, and was able to coneckt the right people to guide and assist these newly formed CANS. At any given time 500 like-minded people are sharing information and valuable resources and together solving challenges.
How CONECKT-ions help provide dignity and comfort to survivors of abuse
Every CONECKT initiative aims to help make the lives of individuals in need better. Nowhere is this more evident than in the partnership with the Epic Foundation who distribute care packs to survivors of sexual abuse. Comfort packs have been a massive need for many years, but with the recent spike in gender-based violence (GBV), they have become even more necessary.
In 2019, after meeting Alta McMaster from Epic Foundation, CONECKT’s CEO together with Alta facilitated a meeting between Epic, CONECKT, The Angel Network and Claire Duvel from Kindness like Confetti where the organisations shared details about how to make the packs more effectively. The team discussed what the packs contain, where to source the best deals, and which initiatives they were assisting. It was a collaboration that stretched to sharing out large donations across the organisations working on comfort packs.
The Epic Foundation is now working with CONECKT and The Red Bagels Charitable Trust to source and make 200 comfort packs. The packs contain a face cloth, panties or underpants for men, re-usable sanitary pads from Dignity Dreams, soap made by Remar, toothpaste, a toothbrush, small hotel-sized body wash and shampoo from Epic Foundation’s donation, deodorant, a comb or brush, hair clips and hairbands, body lotion, a small notebook and pen, tissues, energy sweets, bottled water, lip balm or Vaseline, soft toys for the children, and a note containing words of comfort. All items will be packed in bags made by Winnie Mchenry from Upcycle. In addition, CONECKT will add in a mask donated by Kim Van Eeghem for protection, some spices donated by Afrika Tikkun to add flavour to their meals and some vegetable seeds from CONECKT to plant in August to uplift them with hope for some food in a few months’ time.
Through this project, CONECKT will empower communities, through recruiting and paying volunteers to pack the care packages and providing guest speaker input on issues that men and women are facing. All this will be done during the packing process. CONECKT is, therefore, using the generous donor funds from The Red Bagels Charitable Trust to create an income stream for young volunteers, inform and create awareness around GBV issues, and provide Epic Foundation with much-needed care packs.
Connections are made, relationships are formed, lives are changed. This is the power of CONECKT.
How you can get CONECKT-ed: To become a member of this dynamic, networking, virtual platform of skilled, kind, like-minded individuals changing lives every minute of the day, please go to the CONECKT website www.coneckt.org and register now. In addition, CONECKT offers opportunities for advertising and selling your wares on all their platforms, information about employment opportunities, skills workshops, entertainment services and much more.
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Collaboration, Collaboration, Collaboration