Funding may shut Childline

2013-08-29 00:00

CHILDLINE KZN is calling on corporates and individuals to dig deep into their pockets to save the 27-year-old organisation, which makes a difference in many children’s lives.

The situation is so dire for this organisation that it will be forced to close its doors in September if a financial lifeline is not secured.

Childline KZN touches about 500 000 lives in their 10 centres across the province.

Member of the crisis committee and spokesperson of Childline KZN, Vikki Vink, said they need R7 million as of yesterday to keep them afloat. She said it was the first time in 27 years that the organisation was facing a funding crisis on this scale.

She told The Witness that one of their major donors, the National Lotteries Board, has delayed their funding payment. Apparently applications from December 2012 have not yet been dealt with.

Childline KZN’s two other main sponsors have shifted their focus to youth and sports and this has left them with a gap.

They have already suspended their court preparation and support programme for children who are victims of abuse, and their rehabilitation services for children who have committed offences against other children.

The organisation visits schools where they teach life skills programmes and provide counselling for abused children.

They also deal with a wide range of issues such as exam stress, school bullying, violence in the home, suicide and sexual abuse.

“This is not something light. It’s a critical situation. We need people and companies from KZN to open up their cheque books,” Vink pleaded.

“It’s our problem, and if we don’t take care of our children, who will?”

Childline KZN has 15 permanent staff members who are at risk of losing their jobs.

Joan van Niekerk of Childline South Africa’s national office, who is one of the first founder members and designer of many of Childline’s programmes, said: “I feel enormously sad and also concerned about the situation. Most sad for the children and families who may not receive the help they need.”

She said it has become extremely difficult to deliver services to children who are traumatised and require therapy.

She said the organisation’s monthly costs are about R700 000 –– part of which is covered, but a large shortfall remains.

“People can help by donating –– even small amounts are helpful in a difficult and challenging financial climate,” she added.

KZN Social Development Department spokesperson Ncumisa Fandensi said it was difficult to say whether they would be able to assist Childline KZN. They are in the middle of the financial year and the money in the department’s coffers has already been budgeted for.

“But if an NGO didn’t qualify for funding they can always come to the department and engage with [us]. But there’s a process that needs to be followed and [that] doesn’t just happen haphazardly,” she added.

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