This is the story of Samantha Vilakazi as told to Teagyn Gracey
My name is Samantha Vilakazi and I am from the community of Tembisa. I have been working with Get Informed Youth Development Centre for 3 years now.
My experience working with the community has been amazing; getting to understand people better, and seeing things from others’ perspective. As a community worker you become the eyes and ears of the community and they take pride in having you as one of them.
With the COVID 19 pandemic people still expect the same services as normal, but it is difficult to give them that because you have to take precautions and also protect yourself and everyone who comes to you. It is important to instil and reinforce hope in the community as a community worker.
It is frustrating to wear a mask the whole day but because we have to protect ourselves as well as the people around us, and maintain a positive mindset of why are we wearing the mask in the first place. Keep telling yourself that you are doing it for a good cause and to help the next person you are going to see.
Covid-19 has added to daily struggles that we face as a community members, but we have to find a way to live with these realities. I do worry that as a community worker I might contact people with the virus and bring it back to my family, but I keep motivating myself. I keep my family and I resilient as it is easy to lose hope. I do worry about my health but I worry more about people who take this virus for granted or those who are uninformed about the virus, so I have to be there for them.
I worry about my colleagues a lot. Keeping myself safe will also keep them safe, and that’s critical because losing one of them would be a huge loss for the community as they would have lost a hero.
People in the community are appreciative, and also love and look up to us – and that motivates me because I know they appreciate the impact I make.