Q&A with Karde Buys – Senior HR Manager: CSI & Wellness of The Foschini Group
1. The Foschini Group has historically supported the 16 Days of Activism campaign. What makes this year’s campaign different?
In previous year’s, we selected one NPO to support. This year, we have aligned our support of the 16 Days of Activism campaign with The Foundation for Human Rights mandate, which is to focus on the empowerment of the non-profit organisations in South Africa that are typically out of public view and to highlight their work and funding requirements.
We joined forces with SAfm (104-107fm) with our 16 Charities, 16 Days concept that not only empowers organisations through donations, but guarantees them the vital media exposure to highlight their services and detail their needs to the South African public and business community.
We also aligned ourselves with Greater Good SA (www.greatergoodsa.co.za), who have provided links to their site from ours with an individual page for each NPO. We want to ensure that individuals that hear about the campaign have an opportunity to engage directly with the organisations.
2. When does it kick off?
3. Why choose SAfm as a media partner?
The 16 Days of Activism against women and children is an initiative that the station takes seriously and SAfm commits to support and effect change in behaviour and attitude around this debilitating situation. This campaign allows the station to continue to empower women and South African citizens and we hope to take this association to even greater heights next year.
4. How did you go about selecting the non-profit organisations that are participating?
They all had to meet our corporate funding criteria, but we looked for organisations that we hadn’t worked with before, that were less mainstream and where the need was most urgent.
5. Which organisations have been selected?
Click here for the list of organisations.
6. There is evidently an awareness campaign underpinning the campaign. What does this involve?
A lot! For internal communication to staff, we’ve produced A3 and A5 posters, door decals, updated the intranet, designed emailers and attached A5 leaflets to payslips educating staff about their right to live a non-violent life, how to spot signs of abuse and what to do.
We’ve also placed two ads in Club Magazine and taken the back page of two issues of The Big Issue. The website has been upgraded (www.foschinigroup.co.za/csi) and we’ve included information on the campaign on all statements to The Foschini Group account holders.
The rationale behind this all is to direct interested parties to the website, where they can interact directly with the NPO’s.
7 . What type of feedback have you received from the organisations?
Incredible. Some of the comments are below. It’s so gratifying to know that we’re on the right track, that we’re providing a communication platform for them. Another of the important comments that we’ve received is that most donations are project specific and as our donation is not, the majority of them are using the cash for running expenses – an ongoing battle for most of them.
AFRICA CARES FOR LIFE-AMANZIMTOTI
Says Gail Schreiner, National Director of Amanzimtoti based Africa Cares for Life, whose vision is to impact the destiny of pregnant women and their children: “The ever increasing statistics are a grim reminder that much more needs to be done to make a difference in our nation against violence against women and children. Rape and incest is continuing at an alarming rate whilst children fear to express the anguish of the brutality they suffered to the very people they should trust. We at Africa Cares for Life welcome the drive of 16 days of activism against abuse on women and children and are committed to do whatever in our power to bring about positive changes for a better society.”
OPERATION BOBBI BEAR-AMANZIMTOTI
Says Eureka Olivier, Administrative Director of Amanzimtoti based Operation Bobbi Bear, dedicated to rescuing, representing and reintegrating sexually abused children: “I really would like to thank The Foschini Group for getting involved in NPO’s and helping children who are abused and raped. Very few corporates are willing to go to such lengths to get actively involved.”
ALPHA TRAUMA CENTRE-VEREENIGING
Says Vivien Thomas, Centre Manager of Vereeniging based Alpha Trauma Centre, who deals with children who are victims of rape, the average age of which is under the age of 12: “We’re all very excited to be a part of this initiative. We’ve been trying to get our name out there for years to let people know that our service exists. There is such a need for a campaign of this nature.”
Says Martin Barnard, Founder/Director of Germiston based NGO Chubby Chums, whose main goals are to place children in Safe Havens, Places Of Safety, and Hospices, and to protect, feed and clothe them up to the ages of 18 years: “Why should our children suffer? They deserve to be taken care of, they should be loved, respected and never turned away, it is not the child’s fault. They are, after all, our future.”
Says Carol Johnson, Director of Braamfontein based Bee Courtwise, who offer services in the field of victim empowerment, crime prevention and diversion of youth in conflict with the law: “It’s a really incredible initiative that they’ve taken. Particularly being a small NPO, we’re very proud to be associated with the campaign and we believe that it shall have a great impact against the fight against domestic violence.”
TSENANG HOMES OF SAFETY-PRETORIA
Says Rev. Zillah Ketcher of Muckleneuk (Pretoria) based Tsenang Homes of Safety, whoprovide care to abused, abandoned and neglected children regardless of their health and HIV status: “We are proud and extremely grateful to be selected as one of the non-profit organisations in this active stand against women and child abuse. At Tsenang Homes of Safety we feel privileged to be of service to our wonderful country by offering loving homes and statutory assistance/intervention to those many children in crises. It is essential that we, the mothers of our nation speak out on behalf of South African women and children in crisis. As Tsenang homes of safety, we will use our voice!”
Says Jaco Meintjies, Chairman of Lynnwood (Pretoria) based The Helpnet fund – Safehouse, whose focus is to apply their resources around the care, love and rehabilitation of physically and emotionally abused children: “The opportunity granted to us to be part of this countrywide stand against woman and child abuse is amazing, this campaign will open the eyes of thousands of the general public to abused children/women and their daily plight. It gives us as an organisation the opportunity to interact with the public on these issues. At Safehouse we strive to be so much more than just another roof over their heads, providing these children with the dignity and support they so richly deserve in a safe and secure environment.”
Says Claire Binneman, Fundraiser for the Somerset West based organisation PATCH who aim to support all child victims of sexual abuse in the Helderberg and prevent the incidence of this horrific crime committed against innocent children: “We are so pleased to be recognised by a company such as The Foschini Group. We are so concerned about the high numbers of child sexual abuse, but we are also celebrating the children and teenagers who decided not to keep the secret of sexual abuse anymore. Though painful, letting go of the secret enables the children to start the healing process. I salute the boys and girls who have spoken out about abuse in their lives and I also salute the boys and girls that are on the brink of speaking out. We are proud that Foschini is helping the children to create and opportunity to speak out.”
ST ANNE’S HOME-WOODSTOCK
Says Dorothy Du Plooy, Director of the Woodstock based organisation St Anne’s Home, whose mandate is to provide shelter and support for pregnant, abused, and homeless women with young children: “We are grateful to The Foschini Group for acknowledging the plight of women in shelters. At St. Anne’s we restore the dignity of the women who come through our doors while also empowering them to be self sustaining. The 16 days of Activism is a platform for all roleplayers to collectively take a stand against this basic human rights violation ”.
8 . How do you anticipate that individuals shall engage with the organisations?
We think that it will start with curiousity once the radio interviews with each NPO kick off, then a bit of research online and eventually, a personal contact. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for individuals to find information about the NPO’s that interest them.
9. Is there a way that the community can get involved aside from via giving donations?
Yes, many of the NPO’s also require goods, furniture, food and time! They’ve each stated their priorities on their web pages on www.greatergoodsa.co.za.
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