Rise in poverty: Bfn also feels the pinch

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The latest “Poverty Trends in South Africa” report released by Statistics South Africa, revealed that poverty is on the rise in the country. The report shows that, despite the general decline in poverty between 2006 and 2011, poverty levels in South Africa rose in 2015.
Bloemfontein Courant spoke to a few charity organisations to ask how these poverty trends affect their organisations and what the road ahead looks like.
Jeanne White, acting director of the Age in Action community organisation, said they are experiencing very difficult times and find themselves in dire financial circumstances. They currently don’t even have an office to work from and are using White’s house to try and help the community.
“We receive our funds from the government, but this is very meagre. The biggest contribution comes from Shoprite who helps us every second year,” said White.
She also mentioned that people might think it strange that they are operating from her home, but “it’s the only place we have available and the money does not go into my pocket. My interest lies with the people, elderly people and also the community. Race and colour do not matter to me.” Over the past year she has seen more and more people suffering from poverty, which she said is mostly due to unemployment and general difficult circumstances.
Reverend De la Harpe le Roux from Towers of Hope, mentioned that there is always a need to provide for their soup kitchen, food parcels, clothes and blankets. Many people need money for school and housing, but Towers of Hope is not able to assist in these cases. People come together to think of other alternatives and solutions to the problems that are being faced. People expect miracles but it is not possible.
“People of the Bloemfontein community really work together. We are fortunate to have funding coming from NGOs, various businesses and private individuals,” Le Roux added.
With decreasing subsidies, just like other welfare organisations, Free State Care in Action, is struggling to overcome the rise in poverty and the increasing demand in needs. More and more projects need to be undertaken to empower the organisation financially. To be financially independent means a lot of hard work.
Lente Botha said the Free State Care in Action’s Bloemfontein branch in Watkey Street, Oranjesig, currently looks after the poorest among the poor in the community, among others by offering social services and providing for their daily needs. The organisation’s different projects are mainly aimed at funding.

– Jeretha Oosthuizen

jeretha@mahareng.co.za