Now that we are six weeks into our national lockdown, the novelty of lying on the couch all day has slowly worn off, and, having watched the entire Netflix catalogue, the need has arisen for new activities to occupy one’s free time. Between the three hours of government-mandated exercise time and the commencement of online classes, there are hours in the day that are unaccounted for – hours which can be spent doing something for someone else. There is something each of us can do to make life a little bit better for someone around us. PDBY has a few suggestions for how you can spread hope to your fellow South Africans as we all face these troubling times together.

In late-April and early-May, the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa ran a campaign called “Spreading Hope”, which called on people to write notes of encouragement to patients and carers in hospice facilities across the country. While the official campaign has ended, it remains a meaningful way to spend some of your free time. Reach out to a hospice facility or an old-age home near you and enquire if you can send letters to their residents and carers, or simply write a care-letter to someone who needs it.


There is something each of us can do to make life a little bit better for someone around us.


Another way to spread some hope is to follow the lead of thousands of people around the world who are placing drawings of rainbows in their windows, as to be seen by passersby. Add your own rainbow to the ever-increasing number across the world – it is a simple and safe way to bring a smile to someone’s face.

It’s pretty easy to feel powerless in times like these, but we each have some skill that could be helpful to someone else. Online activism platform, ForGood, has a wealth of opportunities to volunteer your time and skills to someone who might need them during this lockdown period. From business skills working with digital media, fundraising campaigns, and to helping create lessons for kids who are doing schoolwork online, ForGood gives people the opportunity to help out during this time of crisis, and you don’t even have to leave your house.

Whether you try one of these ideas, or you find your own way to help someone out, PDBY would like to encourage readers to offer a smile to a stranger or a friendly greeting to a supermarket worker. We will get through this together and hold each other up while we do.

 Illustration: Madhuri Rambaran

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I’m Kendra! Coffee addict, cat lover, postgrad student. Usually found reading, napping, or doodling.