Ricochet News

Vital Foundation donates R8.5 million to fight women and child abuse

NOVEMBER 11, 2015
Vital Foundation donates R8.5 million to fight women and child abuse

The Vital Foundation has donated R8.5 million to over a dozen charities around the country fighting one of South Africa’s greatest scourges – women and child abuse. R2.7 million was the amount raised for the first funding cycle of 2015 backed by income derived from the R1 makes a difference campaign.

The donation has come at a time when the pandemic, prolific amongst South African schools is having a devastating effect on the health and education of our learners, mainly girls. 

With actual incidence difficult to determine as many cases go unreported, a 2008 Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation report reflected a dramatic rise in reported sexual offences in recent decades. From 15,000 rapes in 1986, the figure had almost multiplied by 4 less than twenty years later, with a striking proportion of the populating being male perpetrators.

Launched two years ago, the Vital Foundation is the charitable arm of Vital Health Foods, the country’s oldest and best-known vitamins and nutritional supplements brand. The foundation is committed to funding non-profit organisations that fight women and child abuse while at the same time becoming a premier resource for information-sharing around the issue.

“Our fundamental principle is ‘healthy bodies, healthy minds’, which implies that a well-looked-after body can make better, more informed choices – especially when it comes to helping others, like women and children in distress,” says George Grieve, Managing Director of Vital Health Foods.

“So, as a business, but also as practitioners of healthy, wholesome living, we can make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Organisations that each received grants ranging from R65 000 to R150 000 included:

• CSC North in Gauteng, a professional network of social workers with a proven history of providing solid family and child care to people in despair, irrespective of race or religious beliefs;

• Youth For Christ in KwaZulu-Natal, active since the 1980s, which targets primarily street children and marginalised youth, creating opportunities for the holistic development (mental, physical, spiritual and social) of young people;

• Families South Africa (Highveld Ridge) in Mpumalanga, which focuses on family preservation, issues around HIV/Aids, eradication of violence, and poverty relief in under-serviced communities;

• Cape Mental Health, which provides mental-health services through 22 community-based programmes throughout the Western Cape for adults and children with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities;

• Ons Plek, which opened in the Cape Town city centre in the late 1980s, and aims to prevent abused and traumatised girls from becoming street children by providing a warm, caring home and ultimately returning the girls to society as soon as possible;

• Lifeline Zululand, Johannesburg and Western Cape, which are telephone-counselling centres offering support to those experiencing emotional distress;

• Umtata Child Abuse Resource Centre, which provides training to children to prevent child abuse and empowers the community and victims of abuse;

• Badisa in Bellville, Western Cape, which provides professional services to children, families and the elderly, disability care and those struggling with substance dependence;

• Vanderbijlpark Trauma Counselling Empowerment Centre, which provides counselling (among other services) to victims of domestic and child violence;

• Women of Vision, which provides therapy, counselling, day-to-day assistance, medication, safe houses and support in various forms;

• Dockda Rural Development Agency in the Northern Cape, which works with women-led community organisations in rural villages to enhance their leadership skills and address wellness;

• Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development in Gauteng, which promotes women’s and children’s rights, awareness, advocacy and training.

“Business can play a larger, more meaningful role in alleviating women and child abuse,” Grieve observes.

“I believe we have a responsibility, in the interests of a more stable, thriving society, to do as much as we can to make a difference."

Image: Umtata Child Abuse Resource Centre: From Left to Right: Nomzamo Mdubeki, Admin Lady; Simon Mayetle; Admin Lady; Priscilla Sipuka and Brad Rogers.