Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.” These words carry great relevance in South Africa, where many of our fellow citizens desperately need our support. The Vital Foundation is making a profound impact in this regard.
In August 2013, the Vital Foundation launched a campaign to assist organisations in the fight against woman and child abuse. Since then, the Vital Foundation has raised over R6.8 million through its ‘R1 makes a difference’ campaign. The campaign donates R1 from the sale of every pack of Vital Health Foods supplements to the foundation.
Masithethe Counselling Services in the Eastern Cape, MOSAIC in the Western Cape and People Opposing Woman Abuse (POWA) in Gauteng are the three beneficiaries of the most recent cycle of fundraising, which has raked in almost half a million rand.
Vital Foundation’s funding will help these organisations to continue their extensive work in helping abused women and children begin the healing process. MOSAIC’s share of the funding will assist over 2 000 survivors of domestic abuse with court procedures, enabling them to can break free of the cycle of abuse and start a new life. POWA will channel their funds towards psychosocial support and psychosocial creative arts, while Masithethe Counselling Services will use the funds for play therapy and for paying social workers to offer on-site support.
“Business can no longer sit back and do nothing about an issue that not only affects civil society, but our economy as well. We have to do more,” says George Grieve, Managing Director of Vital Health Foods, the company that established one of South Africa’s first funding and information sharing bodies for the prevention of woman and child abuse.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is therefore imperative that we, as a business, and that business as a whole, do what we can for people on a mental and social level too,” comments Grieve. “Each small step plays a large role in combatting the ills so prevalent in our society,” he adds.
“Funding from the Vital Foundation makes it possible for POWA to provide support to survivors of abuse,” says Jeanette Sera, Counselling Services Manager at POWA.
The organisations that benefit from the funding play a critical role in not only offering counselling and legal assistance to those affected by abuse, but also in raising awareness of abuse. In a partnership with the SABC3 breakfast show, Expresso, the organisations have the opportunity to highlight the work that they do and to inform the public about the danger signs of abuse.
“For MOSAIC, the significance of the funding is twofold. Firstly, receive valuable funding for helping the abused to access justice. Secondly, we get invaluable assistance in creating awareness amongst South Africans and getting them to join in in the fight against domestic violence. Fighting this terrible social ill is more effective as a collective. Through the Vital Foundation, MOSAIC has not only received financial assistance, but has been given a way to involve South Africans in conversation around this serious topic every morning with Expresso,” says Arnelle Meyer from MOSAIC.
It is crucial to raise awareness of the signs of abuse. Abusive relationships often progress slowly. Victims of abuse are sometimes unaware that they are being victimised. An abusive relationship often starts out like any other relationship. They may appear to be loving, supportive and affectionate relationships, until the abusive behaviour begins. Awareness plays a key role in breaking the cycle of abuse.