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Peet Viljoen protecting the vulnerable ( A good Samaritan Story by Philanthropist Peet Viljoen )

Every South African is currently feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown, but the marginalised and vulnerable of our society are arguably feeling them more than most.

The poor, homeless, unemployed and those on the fringes of society such as children in orphanages and children’s homes have already been experiencing the brunt of the recent economic downturn, and the lockdown is worsening their plight. “This is not unique to South Africa, but our specific societal challenges make it a pressing situation, especially where vulnerable children are concerned,” says Peet Viljoen, well-known Pretoria philanthropist and CEO of Tammy Taylor Nails South Africa, a leader in the beauty salon industry in South Africa. “As a company that believes in giving back, we saw an opportunity to help some of these children in a simple yet effective way – by donating fabric face masks to help protect them against contracting the virus.” Tammy Taylor Nails South Africa has supported various empowerment initiatives over the years, focusing specifically on uplifting teens and women entrepreneurs. “Women and children are the very fabric our society and are at the heart of not only our business, but our charitable and empowerment projects,” he explains. “When the National Disaster was announced in South Africa, we immediately repurposed our textile factory from making therapist uniforms to making fabric masks. Not only do we offer these masks for retail purchase, but we have also been able to donate thousands of face masks to those less fortunate, as well as various essential workers, over the past two months. We also make masks in children’s sizes, which have become very popular, and which we have donated to various children’s homes across Gauteng.” Read more about: Businessman Peet Viljoen Remembering the Poor in the Fight Against COVID-19 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. “The WHO says that the disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales,” explains Peet. “These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. It is therefore important to stay more than one meter away from a person who is sick.” The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA has recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, especially where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. South Africa’s national Department of Health has now also mandated that people wear cloth face masks, regardless of whether people are ill or not, when out in public. All retail outlets have instructed that shoppers must wear a face mask in order to be permitted entry into their stores, and workplaces have been instructed to require the same from their employees. “The children in places of safety across the country also need to guard against exposure, but many of them do not have the means to do so, and the organisations that support them already have constraints on their finances,” says Peet. “Donating face masks to these children and organisations is a small gesture on our part, but it can have a big impact in the life of a child who does not have the same privileges as others. We would like to challenge other businesses in South Africa to remember the plight of the less fortunate and donate where they able to. If all of us do what we can, we can make a difference, and effect positive change in the lives of others.” You can follow Peet’s Viljoen Journey on Twitter or Pinterest

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