Cash cuts threaten NGO’s survival

2010-01-25 00:00

AN NGO at the forefront of establishing programmes aimed at helping responsible adults mentor vulnerable children is on the verge of closing its doors.

The traditional local and overseas funding streams of Big Bro­thers Big Sisters of South Africa (BBBSSA) have been hard hit by the recession, according to its executive director, Sharmala Ishwarlall.

The organisation has four offi­ces in South Africa — in Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The Pietermaritzburg programmes co-ordinator, Pat Gounden, told The Witness that although there are 50 people waiting to be matched with children, the organisation’s future is in jeopardy.

The organisation set up a Pietermaritzburg office about three-and-a-half years ago and has so far set up 250 “matches” between adults and children.

The BBBSSA match-up process focuses on the concept of positive role models.

There are about 150 matches currently active in the city.

Gounden said the organisation has had to retrench most of its staff members.

She added that it has applied for funding from various government departments and government entities, as well as the national lottery.

However, it is likely that the outcome of these applications will only be known later this year.

Gounden said the Pietermaritzburg office has also been involved in community upliftment projects with adults and children living in Taylor’s Halt, Sweetwaters and Northdale.

“In Sweetwaters and Taylor’s Halt, we deal with children infec­ted or affected by HIV and Aids, as well as child-headed households,” she said.

BBBSSA has been operating in South Africa for a decade and has set up about 8 000 matches.

There are about 4 000 matches currently active across the country.

For more information, contact Gounden at 033 345 6929 or

e-mail pat@bbbssa.org.za.

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