South Africa

Emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a nationwide lockdown was also implemented in South Africa. As in other places, the communities that suffered the most from this situation were the most vulnerable, the poor, refugees/migrants, unable to earn a daily income for subsistence, living in dwellings without adequate health services and without access to medical care.

FMSI has long supported the Three2Six education programme for refugee and migrant children in Johannesburg, which currently accommodates 225 refugee children and another 300 are on the waiting list.

At the time of the lockdown, their situation and that of their families immediately became difficult: many of the children’s parents, living from informal activities and odd jobs, could not go out and provide income for the family and even buying basic necessities had become a serious problem for them.

Hence the response with an emergency project, supported by Misean Cara, which offered food vouchers to 238 poorest families to ensure that all family members and especially the children had the food they needed during the lockdown, along with soaps and disinfectants to enable them to implement prevention measures.

The vouchers were sent to specific mobile phone numbers with a code that allowed only the person receiving it to use it and only to buy food. In this way, not only was the distancing respected, but the correct use of project resources was ensured.

In order to avoid speculation on the prices of food and hygiene goods, the project used a long-established producer company that offered the goods at low cost.


The project also addressed the psychological needs of the children. Three2Six teachers were in weekly contact with each family to enable the children to talk about their fears and worries and to ensure that they did not feel alone. The Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre (JPCCC) was also involved to help with the children’s psychological recovery and school rehabilitation.


The project aims to provide food, soap and disinfectants to the families of migrants and refugees who are in special need while in confinement for COVID-19.


  • 238 vulnerable families – migrants and refugees – received food items for daily needs and to stay healthy
  • 238 vulnerable families received soap and disinfectants to improve hygiene conditions and remain protected from the virus

SDGs: 1, 3