COVID-19 Project Overview
During South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown, domestic workers across South Africa were categorized as non-essential workers and could not earn a living. Many continue to have their services deferred until the nation curbs the spread of COVID-19. The team of SweepSouth — an organization that connects 5,000+ cleaning professionals to homeowners — quickly established an emergency fund at the start of the pandemic to support its workers in partnership with donors and clients.
The fund is helping SweepSouth cleaning professionals (called SweepStars) sustain their livelihoods, including the 79% who are the primary or sole income earner for their household.
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of South Africans, so many of whom are under immense financial pressure and face increasing employment insecurity, and are immensely grateful for their efforts.Aisha Pandor, SweepSouth CEO
How it Helps
The COVID-19 SweepStar Fund is bridging the gaps in regular income for domestic workers who use the SweepSouth platform. During South Africa’s lockdown, this assistance ranging from R150-450 ensured SweepStars were able to cover their living expenses and purchase necessities for their families. Though SweepStars were allowed to return to work two months after the lockdown began, many must remain isolated or are not back up to their typical number of clients. The SweepStar fund helps these domestic workers meet their ongoing needs.
Financial assistance in times of economic crisis is vital for many domestic workers, especially the 71% of SweepStars who were unemployed and 29% who were underemployed prior to working for SweepSouth. As the economic climate continues to evolve due to the pandemic, the SweepSouth team remains committed to its SweepStars and seeks to promote financial stability that leads to even more opportunity.
Dignified Work That Uplifts Communities
SweepSouth’s response to the pandemic aligns with its efforts to positively shape the domestic service industry and make a broader impact on communities. By providing dignified and flexible employment opportunities with competitive pay, SweepSouth puts its workers at the center of its model while offering a valuable service to households throughout South Africa. In fact, many clients who are deferring cleanings during the pandemic continue paying their SweepStars because of their history of quality service and the person-to-person connection facilitated by the SweepSouth platform. With the relaunch of services, SweepStars are responsibly following safety measures to protect themselves and clients.