Children's Health Health Funding OurHealth

East Rand NGO brings festive season home to children

Written by Thabo Molelekwa

Recently the Villalissa Support Group based in Johannesburg’s East Rand threw a Christmas party for orphaned and vulnerable children, but the NGO is the third in as many months to complain about decreased funding.

Villalissa Support Group supports about 2880 needy families in the Vosloorus area

Villalissa Support Group supports about 2880 needy families in the Vosloorus area (File photo)

Founded in 2001, the organisation supports about 2880 families in need in the community outside Vosloorus, including those headed by orphaned and vulnerable children. It recently held a graduation and Christmas party for the orphaned and vulnerable children who are headed into primary school.

The party was sponsored by the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) Boksburg branch. As part of the gathering, each SARS official from the office sponsored gifts and clothes for one child.

“These children are the future of this country so we need to take care of them,” said SARS branch manager Nombuyiselo Sadiq. “You see the future of the country by how it takes care of its children.”

Sadiq added that South Africans cannot sit by and say they do not know how to get involved in community work when organisations like Villalissa Support Group exist.

The South African National Tuberculosis Association (SANTA) also donated basic toiletries and clothes to the event. SANTA volunteer Suzette Dyason noted that with the recent economic downturn, smaller NGOs like the Villalissa Support Group were increasingly feeling the funding pinch.

“If we can keep on addressing the issue of HIV,  I think the number of orphan and child-headed families will decrease,” Dyason told OurHealth. “On the other side, with the world economy going down, it is difficult for us to reach all the children.”

Villalissa Support Group thanked the event’s sponsors and appealed for large organisations like SARS to ensure that smaller, community-based organisations benefited from companies’ corporate social responsibility programmes.

The East Rand organisation is the third organisation alongside Tshwane’s Kopano Lerato and the Treatment Action Campaign to come forth with funding problems in as many months.

About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa joined OurHealth citizen journalists project in 2013 and went on to become an intern reporter in 2015. Before joining Health-e News, Thabo was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign’s Vosloorus branch. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems and started his career at Discovery Health as a claims assessor. In 2016 he was named an International HIV Prevention Reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Journalists and was a finalist in the Discovery Health Journalism Awards competition in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Thabo also completed a feature writing course at the University of Cape Town in 2016. In 2017 he became a News reporter , he is currently managing the Citizen Journalism programme.You can follow him on @molelekwa98