Mendy, Cadena SA – Helping SA through COVID-19

Let’s work backwards here. Cadena is working to create hand-made masks for those in vulnerable areas. Please tell us more?
There is a consensus in the medical community that cloth masks can have a significant impact in stemming the rate of infection of COVID-19 when used correctly, especially in overpopulated areas where social distancing is challenging.

Cadena SA volunteers around Johannesburg are sewing cloth masks at home for distribution in areas where they will have the biggest impact.

We are also launching a campaign to educate people on best practise when using masks, including the most hygienic cleaning methods. We are creating online videos and printing flyers for distribution with the masks. Our hygiene kits also include hand sanitiser.



How do you go about distributing your masks/hygiene kits?
We have been working with South African Friends of Israel. Clive Mashishi has been instrumental in coordinating distribution through various pastors and community leaders in different townships. We have also been working with the City of Joburg to get aid into medical facilities in Alexandra.

How can we help?
There are many ways to get involved. People with sewing skills (and sewing machines) can join our team of mask-makers. If you would like to sew but don’t have fabric, message us and we will arrange to have fabric sent to you.

If sewing isn’t your thing you can donate directly to Cadena SA. All funds will go towards masks, hand sanitiser and the printing of flyers.

If you aren’t in a position to support financially, you can always share our content and invite friends to like our page. Sometimes a simple share can make a huge difference. You never know who will see it. There is also a volunteer signup portal on our Facebook page where people can sign up to stay up to date with our latest initiatives and ways to help.

Tell us about Cadena, please?
Cadena SA is the humanitarian arm of the Jewish community – a humanitarian non-profit organisation committed to providing aid to people affected by natural disasters around the world. We develop long-lasting, cost-efficient solutions which enhance the quality of living for vulnerable communities. With chapters around the world, Cadena SA is the newest addition to the Cadena family where we aim to serve the local community as well as being a gateway to Southern Africa.

What is your role in Cadena?
I handle the day-to-day running of Cadena SA. Cadena SA has an incredible board of directors and some truly dedicated and passionate volunteers. Everyone gets involved where they are most needed and where their unique talents are best utilized.

In 2019 you guys sent a team to help with the Mozambique Cyclone relief. I want to mention what Cadena achieved because it’s essential to see where funds go and also how much good can be done when people come together to help.
– 27 300 Mozambicans have access to clean water for the next five years
 – 1500 hygiene kits were distributed to the most vulnerable in displacement camps
 – 412 schoolgirls were provided with reusable menstrual hygiene support, increasing the likelihood of them completing their education
 – 100 families received solar lamps

Please tell us about Cadena’s other relief work?
Following Cyclone Idai, we felt it essential to join in the relief effort. Our first mission was directly after the disaster where we distributed water filters to help with the cholera outbreak and solar lamps to give to people who had lost everything in the storm.

Our second mission was two months later, where we focused on hygiene and dignity kits. These can be extremely useful to people who have been living in resettlement sites and who are trying to get back on their feet.

We mostly operate in South Africa. While SA does not suffer from natural disasters that are happening in other countries, there are many long-term disasters that need addressing. We feel that our team of devoted volunteers are perfectly placed to make a big difference in this country.

What do you tell people who hesitate to donate money, perhaps they think that a small amount is not helpful?
We are living in a time where something as small as a bottle of hand sanitiser or a mask could make the difference between life and death for a family. There is no such thing as a small amount in a case like this. Every bit helps.


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