Your questions answered. Everything you need to know as a Blue household.

What do you mean by Blue and Green?

We’re uncomfortable with the typical “give” vs “receive” terminology as this is more about relationships between two households. In the traditional scenario, the Blue household is the sponsor and the Green household is the beneficiary.

How much should I give?

That depends on how much you’re able to spare every week. We suggest R100, R200, R250 or R400 per week for an 8 week period. But it really is up to you.

How does the pairing work?

You sign up as a Blue household online. We assign you to a Green household based on your weekly commitment and the family size. For example, R100/week will be matched to a 2-person household, R400/week will be paired with a family of 8 or more.

I’m abroad. Can I join?

Yes, you can still join, please do! It is really easy to buy grocery vouchers and airtime/data from outside of South Africa. And we have partnered with Powertime to streamline electricity payments for international Blues. At this time, international money transfers are a little tricky.

Can I use PayPal for international money transfers?

Not many of our Green households have PayPal, but we can work with them to set this up if needed. It makes international money transfers easier for those living outside of South Africa.

What duration is this contract?

You commit to sending a set amount for a minimum period of 8 weeks. It’s up to you if you’d like to continue the engagement, but there is no obligation to. Green households should understand this.

How do I know what my Green household needs?

Green households need the agency to decide on what they need. Just ask them! It may be electricity, cash or food vouchers or a combination, though cash may be difficult to send if you are outside of South Africa (we are investigating some options). Not many of our Green households have PayPal, but we can work with them to set this up if needed. We encourage you to be flexible, once a month it may be electricity and then food for the rest of the month.

Do I need to give the same voucher every week?

That’s up to your Green household. You may give the full amount every week as a voucher, or do a combination of e-voucher, prepaid electricity and airtime.

What’s the best way to communicate?

We kickstart the conversation by SMS. You jointly decide on the channel that works best, SMS or WhatsApp. Note that many households don’t have wifi access. It’s not unusual for a Green family to switch to another members’ phone. It’s also not unusual for a family to take a while to respond, they may not have data.

I’ve been paired with a Green household, now what? How do I start the conversation?

Yes, go ahead and reach out to your Green family. Tell them a little about yourself and ask them how you can support them. It’s a good idea to agree on a communication channel, SMS or Whatsapp.

Here’s a sample SMS message to get the ball rolling:
Dear {NAME}, I hope you are ok during this tough time. Our household/ My name is {INSERT NAME} and we live in {insert suburb}. We have been paired together for the ‘Amakhaya Amabini – Bringing households together project’ and I am/we are excited to connect. We have committed to send your household {R100, R200 or R400} every week for the next 8 weeks. Please let us know what is most helpful for you every week between {food vouchers, data, electricity or cash transfer}. I/We will aim to send it on {Fridays} so please let us know if it doesn’t come through.
Looking forward to hearing back from you,

How regularly should I be communicating with my paired household?

Make weekly contact with your Green household by sending them cash or a voucher. The frequency of communication is something you’ll need to decide on together. Be sensitive to cultural and language differences. Some folks are chatty whilst others are blunt and to the point. We suggest that you start slow and see where it goes.

How do I handle cultural differences?

It’s important to remember that you possibly don’t know the lived realities of the household you pair with, this applies both ways, and you may never really know. Go gently, be patient, don’t set expectations. Let the process take you.

What happens if I am unable to continue the payments?

We understand our world is uncertain right now, and if your personal circumstances change please let us know as soon as possible, so we can find another household to match.

What happens if the funds are misappropriated?

This project is premised on trust in humanity. It is possible that someone may take advantage of this scheme but we can mitigate this by using existing community networks to help identify the most at risk households.

They’ve asked for money, what do I do?

Send instant money / eWallet to a cell phone number from your banking app. EFT if that’s what works for both of you. Popular banks for instant cash:

They’ve asked for airtime and data, what do I do?

Data and airtime costs are a low priority for many, and many don’t have wifi. It may be a nice gesture to send your Green family airtime / data to make it easier for you to stay in touch. Most banking apps let you recharge someone else’s cell phone.

They’ve asked for grocery e-vouchers, what do I do?

You can now buy Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay vouchers online. Visit Shoprite’s computicket page to buy virtual vouchers redeemable at any Shoprite, Checkers, Usave and Checkers Hyper. Visit Webtickets to buy Pick ‘n Pay vouchers. All you need is your Green household’s cell phone number and your debit/credit card.

Check with your paired household that they are able to get to these stores. If not, cash transfers are helpful as households can shop at smaller local retailers like corner cafes and spaza shops.

How do I buy electricity?

For South Africans you can easily buy prepaid electricity via online banking app for another person. 

For international people, we’ve partnered with Powertime to make it easy for you to buy electricity from overseas – go here for international pay online via credit card. Be sure to include the beneficiary name (eg. Kleinbooi) as your reference so that we know who to allocate meter tokens to.

My Green family are asking for things beyond this contract. How do I respond?

This is entirely up to you. Amakhaya Amabini encourages setting boundaries around your initial commitment in an honest way. We know that vulnerable households do have real issues and have learned a million ways to survive. This is an exercise in building trust in human relationships. That said you can only take on what you are able to. If you’re not willing to take on further expenses, then say so. Let your Green household know what you are comfortable with. If you run into any further complications, please get in touch with us.

Who is behind Amakhaya Amabini?

We are a group of Capetonians united in the idea that helping each other can be decentralised and more impactful by pairing up households to support each other through the current crisis and beyond.

How can I trust this process?

This project is premised on trust in humanity. Trust between two households to communicate effectively, trust that Blue households commit to the weekly amount, and trust that Green families maximise the benefit to the whole household.

Amakhaya Amabini is merely the conduit to households in need. We cannot be held liable for any issues any parties may experience. We don’t handle any money ourselves, you share resources and communications directly with your paired household. That’s the joy of this relationship, it is direct and therefore 100% impactful. However, please do let us know if things go wrong and we’ll do our best to help.

Trust takes time to build, from both sides. You likely live in very different realities, with varying communication styles, experiences and expectations. Don’t be discouraged if the interaction is not what you expected initially. Persevere, try to be understanding of this stressful time and potentially difficult interactions, and you will likely build more trust over time as the relationship deepens.