Life Savers Foundation is a non-profit organisation working in the Makuya area, under Thulamela Municipality, Vhembe District, in Limpopo Province. The organisation was formed in January 2008 and became a registered NPO on the 4th of November 2009 (NPO No: 073-031). Life Savers Foundation is an emerging organisation, which was established by unemployed women, men and youth from disadvantaged rural communities. The organisation aims to empower individuals from these communities to break the silence towards all forms of violence. In addition, Life Savers Foundation seeks to implement sustainable initiatives aimed at broad-based empowerment.
Background to Makuya
Makuya and other surrounding villages face high levels of poverty, low levels of literacy, a lack of basic services, a lack of access to justice and health care facilities, and a lack of consultation between the local government and community members. Further, these communities have high levels of unemployment and alcohol abuse which have contributed to high levels of violence and crime.
Rational for Life Savers Foundation
Life Savers Foundation was established with the purpose of reducing incidents of gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual violence, which is a major issue in Makuya. The organization aims to do this through making the community at large aware of GBV, through conducting human rights campaigns. In addition, the organisation provides victims of GBV with support through assistance with court preparation; providing accommodation for survivors of abuse; assessing victims’ exposure to secondary victimisation; and identifying vulnerable individuals who need assistance in changing their situation. The main beneficiaries are children, youth, adults, people living with HIV and people with disabilities.
It important to address the issue of GBV in Makuya because despite the high incidence of GBV in the community, many are not aware of it. Further, survivors of this abuse are often unaware of where to go when they are faced with this abuse. Women, children and persons with disabilities are the primary victims of this form of abuse.
Consequences of this abuse include, injury-related disabilities and even fatalities. In child-headed households, GBV can result in teenage pregnancy and school drop-out.
Risk factors for GBV in Makuya include: high levels of poverty, low literacy levels, a lack of basic services, a lack of access to justice, unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse and an underlying lack of awareness about human rights among the general population.
Our vision is to encourage zero tolerance towards GBV, including sexual assault. Further, our vision is to empower those who are affected by the HIV pandemic and by poverty. Our beneficiaries are: women, children and men, including those with disabilities.
- To provide comprehensive, holistic services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and those who suffer as a result of HIV and poverty.
- To facilitate community led healing and rehabilitation for both victims and perpetrators of violence and enable assimilation back into the community.
- To empower victims through environmental preservation and income-generating activities.
Life Savers Foundation has a governing board of directors, comprised of office bearers and additional members. Three sub-committees have been formed to strengthen operational effectiveness, improved communications between management and the board, contribute to quick and efficient decision-making, and provide high-level guidance to enhance the quality of service delivery.
The organisation has established a network within the community. By partnering with different stakeholders including Makuya SAPS, Department of Education, Department of Social Development, TVEP, AFSA and other community home based care organizations, Life Savers Foundation seeks to improve service provision.