South African school closed by pandemic helps to feed 180 families

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

The coronavirus pandemic has forced classrooms all over the world to close.

And in South Africa, the headteacher of a school for children with disabilities is going to extraordinary lengths to support her students at home.

For them, school is not just a place to learn, it is also a lifeline in so many ways.

Before the lockdown Carpe Diem school used to provide food to support 50 families, but since the start of the pandemic that has risen to 180 as lockdown and job losses hit.

The school has 360 pupils.

Headteacher Elzeth Grobler said the families she helps are in "dire straights" and that many have "lost their jobs and cannot afford to feed their children".

Elzeth Grobler delivers food to 180 different families. Credit: ITV News

The pandemic has hit the poorer areas of the country the hardest, with unemployment in the area rising to almost 50%.

Ms Grobler said: "The situations where the learners are living is not giving them hope, the school gives them hope."

She added: "The worst case scenario would be that the children for the next generation will start losing and not thinking that they can make a difference."

South Africa is the worst hit nation on the continent, with just under half the total coronavirus cases.

They have had almost 650,000 confirmed cases compared to Africa's entire total of just under 1,350,000.