Relief in times of disaster

Lerato's Hope is part of a network of churches and church partners called RESPOND Coalition. 

The RESPOND Coalition was formed in 2012 to increase the effectiveness of the collaborative response of churches in the City of Cape Town and surrounds to large scale disaster incidents. The coalition comprises a number of churches and Christian non-profit organisations with a commitment to responding to disaster incidents collaboratively.

RESPOND seeks to work towards:

Find out more here.


One of the two most common crises to occur in informal areas are fires (man-made) which spread quickly due to house structures being built in close proximity to each other. The aftermath of these incidences is great in cost of time, resources and mental capacity of various parties. People in the community usually fear losing their spot after their home has burnt down so they sleep in the open air to keep their plot where others juggle keeping their job (usually in a location further into Cape Town) and covering their families' basic needs.


Most areas known as 'townships' began as designated areas for categorised Black and Coloured peoples to make do with under the Group Areas Act. These areas of the city were not meant for habitable living e.g. most of Philippi is built on wetlands thus even slightly heavy rainfall can cause flooding of home structures. Added hazards in these incidences include the interaction of electricity wires and water which have been known to cause deaths in the past year, as well as the cold temperatures of a winter season.

Over the years of assisting communities in times of disaster, we have learnt and observed the following:

Communities in informal areas have good leadership structures

Communities want to help themselves and not just receive hand outs

Food perishes quickly and is difficult to prepare without equipment

Usually, employed people’s priority is to keep their jobs despite losing their living space

Support our proactive fire & flood fund

Disasters in townships are inevitable due to structural challenges of buildings and changing behaviours of people, as well as changing population as many people move in and out.

We pray and hope for long-term improvements that could make this city better for people who struggle to meet their basic needs. But, in the meantime, we must think about how to respond to crises as they occur. 

Hence our approach

Use these moments to strengthen or form new relationships with leaders of a community

Offer useful non-perishable support that can be used immediately: we have chosen hygiene packs

Give them the opportunity and the administration of correctly assessing the households in real need, and distributing fairly

Help make space for committee meetings to think about long term solutions

Next event: 26 April 2024. Come along any time during 1pm - 2.30pm to help us pack hygiene boxes.

Let’s come together to help people in practical ways and build relationships across borders.