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Updated 13 June 2013

Creating a safer world for children

National Child Protection Week aims to help combat child abuse by raising awareness of how we as individuals, and concerned citizens, can assist in creating a safe and secure environment for all our children.

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Violence and abuse forms part of the lives of far too many children in South Africa. With recent statistics reporting more than 50 000 children to be victims of violent crime in 2011/ 2012, with many more incidences unreported, child abuse in South Africa is at a critical level.

National Child Protection Week, 27 May – 2 June, aims to help combat this by raising awareness of how we as individuals, and concerned citizens, can assist in creating a safe and secure environment for all our children.

It is encouraging to see similar initiatives on government’s agenda, with a massive campaign to raise awareness for the rights of children underway. "Working Together to Protect Children", adopted on the 28th October 2010 by the National Child Care and Protection Forum, is part of a five-year project upholding government’s commitment to protect our children, in partnership with the private sector.

But the responsibility of creating a safe environment for our children does not rest on the shoulders of provincial and national government alone. Corporate South Africa, together with each and every one of us, has a role to play and a shared responsibility.

Haven for abandoned children

Inspired to take action in their local community, Vital Health Foods was introduced to Florence Dodovu, manager of Ncedolwethu Crèche in Mfuleni.  This crèche, a haven for abandoned and neglected children, currently has over 47 children in their care and also provide a variety of after-school activities designed to keep children off the streets. Vital Health Foods has taken this project to heart with employees donating money each month towards much needed groceries and supplies, initiating fundraisers in their own communities and taking part in annual activities such as the Christmas Shoebox project.

Vital Health Foods

As part of their commitment to Child Protection Week, staff of Vital Health Foods and SABC3’s morning Expresso show, undertook to treat the children to a fun-filled day at Playzone whilst giving the crèche a new coat of paint in their absence, complete with beautiful murals. "Our surroundings and where we live have such an impact on our emotional well-being. The opportunity to brighten these children’s lives, even in a small way, is an honour for all involved," says Nadine van Staden, PR Manager, Vital Health Foods.

As part of their on-going commitment to community upliftment, a key component of which is creating a safer world for our children, Vital Health Foods host an annual Vital Run, organised by Run/Walk for Life WP Athletic Club.  Held for the last three years, all proceeds from this event are in aid of PATCH, an organisation providing support to children who have fallen victim to sexual abuse in the Helderberg area.

Recalling the old African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child", Vital Health Food works hand-in-hand with communities to provide protection for children in vulnerable circumstances. "We urge not only surrounding communities, but corporate South Africa as well, to support us in protecting South Africa’s most valuable asset – our children and their future, and in that the future of our country," says George Grieve, Managing Director for Vital Health Foods.

 - (Vital Health Foods press release)
 
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