South Africa has been counting the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated economic pressure. More than a third of the workforce is unemployed, with 670 000 jobs lost during last year’s hard lockdown, putting additional pressure on families who may have lost their sole breadwinner. This situation has been further exacerbated by the rioting and violence earlier this year, estimated to have the KwaZulu-Natal economy around R20-billion and risking a further 150 000 jobs.
With so many businesses and workers alike in such obvious distress, the African SAP User Group (AFSUG) turned to Gift of the Givers, the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin on the African continent, providing a R100 000 donation generated by COVID cost savings this year.
This week, AFSUG – itself a non-profit organisation – handed over the donation to Gift of the Givers to support micro and small businesses with no insurance and were particularly hard hit by the looting in KZN and Gauteng. Since its inception in 1992, Gift of the Givers has been responsible for delivering life-saving goods and on-the-ground support for innumerable people, collectively valued at some R3.8 billion, in more than 44 countries across the globe, including South Africa.
“The essence of our presence is to bring hope and restore dignity to the most vulnerable. Gift of the Givers has been working hard to help South African communities rebuild while also supporting Covid-19 relief efforts, and I would like to personally thank AFSUG and its members for their support during this critical time,” said Gift of the Givers’ founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
AFSUG, the only user group in Southern Africa, provides a platform for SAP customers and partners to connect, create, and collaborate within the SAP ecosystem. AFSUG is a non-profit organization independent from SAP and governed by a Board of Directors comprising SAP customer and partner companies. These IT executives volunteer their time to make AFSUG a success. The NPO offers 10 Special Interest Groups, focusing on different SAP topics, hosts up to 70 focused events throughout the year, and hosts the biennial SAPHILA conference, one of the largest IT conferences in Africa. In 2020, all activities shifted to online due to the COVID Pandemic. Due to the pandemic, AFSUG realized cost savings in 2020 and 2021, and has donated to two charities on behalf of its members, with Food Forward in 2020 and Gift of the Givers in 2021.
Adding to this, AFSUG Board Chairman Duke Mathebula says that big or small, each contribution matters. While Covid has brought unprecedented challenges for people and society, it is incredibly heart-warming to see a wave of new ideas and contributions developed in response to the crisis.
“Gift of the Givers is an extremely credible organisation that work to meet the most critical needs in our society, and we felt they were deserving of the donation. We are aware that many companies who would usually support charitable efforts have not been able to do so, and we wanted to help an organisation that was responding to the most crucial and pressing needs of society this year.”
Mathebula concludes, “The reality is that systems need support just like individuals do. Communities are struggling to provide for citizens in need. From neighbourly acts of kindness to fearless healthcare professionals, the last two years has shone a light on the power of compassion and solidarity. And hopefully paving a new and inspiring way forward.”
For more information about AFSUG, visit www.afsug.com. To learn more about Gift of the Givers visit Facebook and Twitter @GiftoftheGivers or Instagram @gift.of.the.givers.