UKZN Master of Social Sciences graduate Ms Nontobeko Nxele examined the role of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) within the community of Elandskop in Pietermaritzburg.
Nxele was determined to improve the quality of the lives of people who are exposed to poverty and need state support, working with disadvantaged groups who are the primary target of the SRD grant, listening to their views and discovering new ways to improve.
In her study, she uses qualitative research approach, consisting of semi-structured interviews to collect data from fifteen different participants of all genders and different ages, who are recipients of the SRD grant residing in Elandskop.
The usage of thematic analysis to collect data in this study revealed the following: main uses of SRD grant, challenges experienced trying to access the SRD grant, administration of the grant in rural areas and women’s experiences during COVID-19 lockdown.
Apart from Internet connectivity issues she faced which made it almost impossible to communicate with participants and get material from lectures, her research journey was filled with appalling discoveries, including women living in poor families who are expected to independently run successful households even if they are unemployed.
In addition, she shared her personal struggle of interacting with people. ‘My research required a lot of socialising and putting myself out there, which is something I often struggle with. Family and friends played a big role helping me with things, including approaching participants and asking for their cooperation. I am very grateful to them all,’ she said.
She is currently looking to get experiential training in her field of study but plans on furthering her studies in the future.
Nxele said all the challenging work she had put into her study had finally paid off. She urged her peers to always put in more effort and patience to receive a rewarding outcome.