SPAR Uviwe donation

Since rebranding in 2017, Uviwe Child & Youth Services has proactively helped hundreds of young people overcome the anger, trauma and grief of living in abusive homes and gang-ridden communities.

Formerly known as Childline Port Elizabeth, the 107-year-old organisation has transitioned from a reactive, statutory entity to one that specialises in the prevention of child abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The focus has also fallen on equipping adults with parenting skills that can make a significant difference in the lives of their offspring.

Uviwe was one of three non-profits to receive R50 000 donations as beneficiaries of the annual SPAR Eastern Cape Golf Day.

The organisation will put the money towards learning and nutritional needs at its centres in St Adams Drive in Gelvandale, Kobus Road in New Gelvandale and Schauderville.

Uviwe human resources and operations manager Trudie Beneder described the windfall as a “blessing”.

“The donation came as quite a surprise, and a very nice surprise if I may add,” she said.

“Without the support of communities and companies it becomes very difficult for NGOs to perform their duties.

SPAR Uviwe donation

SPAR Eastern Cape purchasing manager Alan Stapleton and advertising manager Roseann Shadrach, right, hand over a cheque for R50 000 to Uviwe Child & Youth Services human resources and operations manager Trudie Beneder. Photo: Supplied

“SPAR has unknowingly filled a large gap for us, as another corporate was unable to approve funding because of the tough economic environment.”

As the retail group invested heavily in programmes aimed at uplifting South Africa’s youth, SPAR EC advertising manager Roseann Shadrach said identifying Uviwe as a beneficiary had been a no-brainer.

She said as the retailer supported various initiatives aimed at fighting domestic and gender-based violence, the youth services organisation’s services spoke to two of its most crucial pillars as a business.

“Our children are our future and, by assisting an incredible organisation like Uviwe meets its targets, we are contributing to their growth as they can leave their past behind to follow their dreams.”

Beneder explained that the rebranding and remodelling exercise seven years earlier had proved highly beneficial.

Where previously the organisation had aided youth across Gqeberha, it now predominantly helps those in the northern areas suburbs of Schauderville, Gelvandale and Booysen Park.

“The more areas you service, the less you can deepen the service. Our focus is now more on quality than quantity.

“If you increase preventative work, your statutory work becomes less.”

Beneder said the NGO also aimed to enhance family relationships as it contributed to the “healthiness of our communities”.

At Uviwe’s early childhood development centres, located at all three facilities, toddlers are offered nutritional, educational and stimulation programmes to prepare them for Grade R.

The Schauderville branch, meanwhile, also offers the Boys and Girls Club, where primary school children receive homework support, life skills training, sporting opportunities and indulge in recreation activities.

Uviwe’s Siya Phambili Youth Empowerment Programme is a notable initiative at both the Schauderville and New Gelvandale premises.

It is aimed at unemployed youth and comprises five modules – personal wellness, digital literacy, entrepreneurship as well as workplace and financial skills – to help them become job-ready.

Additionally, the parenting programme at these two branches helps adults engage better with their children and emphasises the value of investing time and care in their development.

Individual counselling and group therapy sessions are also available, while a holiday club is hosted at the Kobus Road building when schools break up.

“We want to make sure no child is left behind,” Beneder said. “Uviwe is here to ensure our youth are looked after.”