The impact of woman and child abuse on social wellbeing and our economy is staggering. In a study conducted three years ago by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the average cost of each domestic violence incident was R4864,64 compared with an average monthly income of R3393,28 resulting in a household deficit of R1471,36.
Aside from the massive strain caused by absenteeism from work, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), depression or dissociation has on an industry’s workforce; the reliance on subsidised public health systems and services becomes even greater.
“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 has leveraged its brand to focus on issues related to woman and child abuse.
Celebrating their first birthday this week, the Vital Foundation has achieved a target of raising in excess of R3.9m, largely because of the overwhelming support they have received from the public following the initial R1 makes a difference campaign in August last year. It is funded entirely by consumers of Vital supplements; for every Vital supplement pack sold, R1 is donated to the Vital Foundation.
“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, so the imperative is on us as a business, and again business as a whole, to do what we can for people on a mental and social level too,” comments Grieve.
With the rate of domestic violence in South Africa being among the highest in the world, resulting in a workforce shaken by chronic fatigue; PTSD, depression, sexually transmitted infections, loss of confidence as well as anxiety and stress − aside from soaring medical costs and a drain on our public health system − the Vital Foundation opens for funding biannually and pays out on a monthly basis to registered organisations focusing on issues related to protection, prosecution and prevention of abuse woman and child abuse.
Organisations who have benefitted from the first cycle of funding applications received include the Bethlehem Family and Child Welfare Centre (Free State), Community Provision and Social Services (Gauteng), Ikhwezi Women’s Support Centre (Eastern Cape), Justice and Women (KwaZulu-Natal), L’Abrie de Dieu Safe House (Western Cape), Sisters Incorporated (Western Cape) and Theodorah Ndaba Victim Support Centre (Gauteng).
“Our policy is such that after organisations are invited to apply for funding, during two funding application cycles a year, these applications are then presented to the board of trustees for funding allocation,” comments Andrea du Plessis, Spokesperson of the Vital Foundation.
Criteria for funding include:
- The organisation must be in existence for six months or longer;
- The organisation should be a formal, registered entity such as an NGO, NPO or similar not-for-profit organisation;
- Funding will be for work directly linked to fighting women and child abuse such as prevention, protection and prosecution activities, and
- Organisations should be willing to report on their activities and financial expenditure of the funding granted.
Organisations are encouraged to apply online by visiting www.vitalfoundation.co.za. The number of applications has been growing as the Vital brand is becoming more known and organisations in this field are becoming more aware of the contribution Vital is making in this regard.
Between 11 August and 25 November, the Vital Awards campaign is calling on South Africans to nominate an organisation fighting abuse to receive a monthly donation. The winning organisation will receive R35,000 and the winning nominator a Samsung prize. This campaign will run from August being women’s month to December with the last nominations submitted in November. www.vitalfoundation.co.za/award