World Vision – uplifting vulnerable communities
01 January 1970
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Brad Brown: You’re listening to Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now. Over the last few weeks we’ve been putting the spotlight on the various Amabeadibeadi charities in the build-up to the Comrades Marathon and it’s time to chat to another one of them.
They’re the newest kid on the block, so to speak, added just a few years ago to the official Comrades charity list. I’m talking about World Vision. We’ve got the CEO of World Vision here in South Africa, Paula Barnard joining us now. Paula, welcome onto the show, thanks for taking the time to chat to us.
Paula Barnard: Appreciate it, good morning and thank you for having me.
BB: No problem at all. Paula, I mentioned World Vision is the newer kid on the block when it comes to Comrades but you’re not a new kid on the block as far as charity organisations go. You’ve been around; World Vision has been around for a long time. It’s an international organisation and it does some incredible work.
PB: Yes, thank you. No, we’ve been around globally, internationally since 1950. In South Africa we’ve been on the go since 1967.
Joining the Comrades charity family
BB: So been in South Africa for a long time but the relationship with Comrades is still fairly new. How did that come about?
PB: It’s one of those relationships when the Comrades assessed their charity core we applied to become an Amabeadibeadi charity. Apparently did a strong enough business case to be chosen to be added as part of the charity.
I think it runs much closer to where the Comrades wants to go and our own values and principles as an NGO. Looking after the most vulnerable children in the country and the most vulnerable communities. I think that’s where the relationship started.
BB: Let’s talk about those values and core beliefs and what World Vision actually does. I think it’s a brand and a name that many people are aware of but maybe aren’t 100% sure of what you guys do as an NGO. Tell us a little bit about World Vision and what you are trying to achieve.
What World Vision gets up to
PB: World Vision, very shortly, is a Christian community based development organisation. We look after and help to uplift the most vulnerable communities and with a specific focus on children. The most vulnerable children in the community.
Currently we serve 14 communities across the country in six of the nine provinces. We’ve got about 42 000 sponsored children in South Africa and we support about a million households that are linked to those children. In very short terms we raise awareness through our advocacy programmes at a national level with government and Department of Traditional Leaders. Specifically around children’s rights, child protection, children’s health is a big focus area and then education, of course is a huge area for us.
We then stay in those communities between 15 to 20 years and try to mobilise the local churches, traditional leaders, all the authority structures to start looking after the wellbeing of our children. The end result being that we want child safe communities. We also want children that are healthy, literate and loved in those communities where they are.
BB: Paula, I love the fact that it’s a long-term view, you talk about 15 years. It’s not one of those hit and runs. Where an NGO comes in, does some great work and then leaves and doesn’t really worry about the outcome. You guys are actively involved for a long time and in doing so, really leave a mark on each of those children.
Looking at the big picture
PB: Yes, the way the organisation is structured is that our sponsorship programme is also a lifelong commitment in many cases. Our sponsors sponsor children for 30 years or more and are repeat sponsors. So when a child reaches the age of 18 they will take on new children to sponsor.
So it really is a cradle to grave kind of approach. It’s very important to us because we don’t believe in drop and run aid or development. Even our humanitarian response portion which is a large portion of what we do, disaster relief is on the same principle.
We respond to disaster, currently we’re responding to the drought in South Africa where we teach communities to be more resilient. We try to restore them to the position they were before the disaster happened. There’s quite a lot of work in terms of agricultural farming principles. How to mobilise a community to respond to their own disaster. Help them, support them so that it becomes much more sustainable and it’s not about us.
It is about the community and their children, so our approach is also that the community owns and that’s why we mobilise a lot of the community structure. The authority structures in that community because they lead the community.
It is their prerogative and their right to tell us what they need and how they would like it done. Therefore the longer term investment in these communities we found to be the most effective way of solving issues like poverty and injustice and child protection issues.
If you’re not there for a long time it’s exactly as you say, it’s a drop and run kind of exercise. You paint the ECD centre this morning and you don’t worry what happens to the children within that ECD centre next year. Do they have the right literacy, numeracy, are they school ready, things like that? So it becomes really a long-term view for us.
BB: As far as that sponsorship programme that you have, I know that’s a big part of what World Vision does and it’s an incredible programme. If somebody would like to find out more about it or to sponsor a child, how do they go about doing that?
How you can sponsor a child
PB: They can go to our website, worldvision.co.za and it’s all there. The simplest version is R300 a month. You get to visit your child; you get to build quite a deep relationship with this child. I myself sponsor quite a few children. I found such joy introducing my children to our sponsored children.
They become part of your family and because you walk quite a long journey with them and with the children, you get annual reports on their progress. Are they going to school, do they have enough to eat in their families? You can really make a one on one contribution and have a personal relationship and help out that way.
Most of this detail is on our website, worldvision.co.za or you can get in contact with us at our Randburg offices, 011 258 1700.
BB: Paula, you guys will also be at the Comrades expo, I’m taking it as well, if people want to come and find out more and ask questions. I’m guessing they’re more than welcome to come and do that too.
PB: Absolutely, they’re welcome to come past our stand and there’s brochure there, there’s some digital material. They can look through it and decide whether or not it’s a worthy cause that they would like to get involved in. I hope they do.
BB: Yes, absolutely. I think what you guys do is incredible and I just want to urge the runners too, that if you’re thinking about supporting one of the Amabeadibeadi charities for Comrades 2016, do it now. You can head over to comrades.com and through the Race for Charity platform raise some money. If you raise R5 000 for World Vision at this year’s Comrades you’ll get to leapfrog in the seedings.
You can start in the C batch, save a bit of time at the start. Particularly on the Down run, it makes a big difference. That money goes to a very worthy cause, so go check it out. comrades.com is where you can get all those details. But all the links and the numbers are in the show notes for this episode of Old Mutual Live.
Paula, thank you so much for joining us here today, much appreciate it. All the best in the build-up and the final run in to Comrades and beyond. I know this is just one of the things you do to sort of get World Vision’s name and brand out there. But you do much more important work at grassroots level and I know there’s always work to be done, so best of luck.
PB: Thank you so much and I’d really like to thank the runners who are already running for World Vision. We’ve got 74 runners to date signed up, thank you so much for your support and good luck and God bless all through your preparations for Comrades.