Elyjoy works with Social Collective, a company that helps NGOs and cooperates with their social projects. “I met Sue for the first time in 2016. She was looking for some volunteers to assist with data capturing at the launch site. That is where our work relationship began,” she says.
“We have a software that helps with tracking, reporting and compiling all of the data in one place. We mostly work with younger people who are unemployed, and we teach them how the system works and how to capture all the information,” she says. “The software ensures that Sue and the RFHA team have all the data they need, stored in a centralized place. Once we are done with the data collection, we do the impact study.”
Doing Good Effectively
Elyjoy’s passion for working towards the betterment of communities took her on a journey from the field of law to the community development program. “I did my under-graduate degree in Law in England, and then transitioned from law to community development. After being in this industry for around a year, I moved back to South Africa. I did not have much experience, so I started volunteering for an NGO in South Africa and they gave me a job in knowledge management. I worked with one other NGO before joining the Social Collective,” she says.
“We have 11 national languages in South Africa, and you cannot conduct a post study if you just speak English. I find local people in the areas where Health Days are held, as it is easier for them to converse with the people. They can easily get all the information we need, and this helps us in our data collection process,” Elyjoy says.
“I am really invested in the RFHD program, as I see its value. I have seen the services it offers to the local communities and the impact it has made to society. It is not just about doing good, but doing good effectively.
“In a country like South Africa, there is a big divide between those who have and those who don’t. There are many people in this country who do not have medical cover. For them, Rotary Family Health Day is the only chance to get themselves screened and treated, without spending any money or traveling to a hospital that is far from their town,” she continues.
“RFHA brings these services to the people. If you ask an older person to visit a hospital to get themselves screened for a disease, they might not take it seriously. The reason could be a difficult commute that involves taking two or three buses, or not having enough money to pay for their medical bills. Hence, a lot of times, they go undetected for serious health problems. RFHD services go into these communities, helping and encouraging people to get tested and treated for life threatening diseases.”
“I tested positive for COVID-19 and pneumonia in June 2021. After staying in the hospital for two months and being on a ventilator, I know how important it is to get vaccinated and build up your immunity,” says Elyjoy. “It has been a nightmare. I just remember sleeping for those two months of my life, and it was a tough time for everyone in my family. No one should go through this. When I got better, I just wanted the vaccine. It is so important,” she emphasizes.
Elyjoy is clear that she believes RFHA is an asset, especially with COVID-19 still rampant in many areas. “I think RFHA could do so much for these communities during this tough time that we are all living in.” She feels strongly that being able to extend the RFHD program to more than three days could really see an increased impact. “Especially considering the COVID-19 situation, it would be great if we could educate people about the importance of vaccines and encourage them to take them.”
Serving a Social Purpose
Sharing her passion for making community work more effective, Elyjoy says, “I may not be directly involved on the field. But I help in collecting the data from one place, and that data tells a story. For a long time, I have noticed that the system has been failing young people. Resources are being wasted and most of the time, they don’t reach the ones who really need it,” she adds. “I feel that the work I do should serve a social purpose. I always ask myself this question: how can I do something for the community, something that will make resources more available?”
Before signing off, Elyjoy suggests that since a lot of people in these local communities are still unvaccinated, RFHA can play a role in providing access to this service. “The focus this year should include COVID-19 vaccinations, as it will do a lot of good to society,” she adds.Share