- 2003-05-07 (Creation)
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Minister Trevor Manuel, also the Fund's Advisory Board Member
Deputy Chairperson of the Fund, Justice Moseneke
CEO of the Fund, Sibongile Mkhabela
All our Trustees herein present
Advisory Board Members of the Fund
All various Club Members and contributors to the Fund,
Members of the media,
Partners of the Fund
Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening
What started as a dream 8 years ago, a dream to help South African children dream big and live those dreams, has grown beyond my anticipation and imagination. Today, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund supports and has partners in all the nine provinces of the country with five selected and reformulated programme areas.
The Fund was started as a way to awaken the society and concientise them on the way children are treated. The Fund has raised a total of R298 million and disbursed R98 million since its establishment. In the fast Financial Year we awarded 106 grants amounting to R25,8 million an increase of R6,7 million over the preceding year.
Children are at the centre of my heart and will remain so in my work. As such the Fund has devised an endowment strategy and policy with R250 million as our target, we have already raised a total of R180 million to this end and I call and challenge business people and corporates to contribute towards funding this cause. We appreciate the designated funding from our current contributing partners, but urge many more to consider donating towards the growth of our endowment so that we can continue to reach out, help, nurture and develop our children.
Ladies and gentlemen, business leaders and key government representatives, our donors and Partners herein present. I challenge you today to join in the vigorous fight against all forms of ill- treatment meted against children, and, in fact, against family and the fabric of society. I have always been an avid child activist and will continue through the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund led by Justice Moseneke and Sibongile Mkhabela, to advocate and fight for the rights of children. I am saddened, however, at the way women and children are subjected to senseless and premature death, torture and abuse. Just this year alone and we are into the fifth month, we have lost over countless children to violence. Fifty percent of victims of road accidents in South Africa have been children.
It is sad to read that four children, three brothers and a relative have been cold-bloodedly killed and dumped. Even more gross and spine chilling is that they were discovered by children playing on the death site. Our society is fast losing the moral war to protect and nurture its children against abuse.
The challenge is to reclaim our will and conscience in time in order to salvage our future and humanity.
There is a desperate need for a legal framework to address issues Involving bail eligibility and treatment of various categories of perpetrators of child abuse. In the last week, a 15 year old was physically abused and sexually molested by a dog, which was set on her by two adults. Her crime was that she had not performed her chores to the expectations of her employer. Firstly, they violated the child's right to education and good upbringing, they overlooked the child labour act and to add salt to injury, the perpetrators were released on bail. While the minimum sentence of life for the rape of children is welcome, do we ever get to see the perpetrators in jail where they belong? What has happened to our fundamental values of love, support, acceptance and care for our children? Why are we deliberately allowing our morals to go under and act like brutes with no conscience whatsoever?
As you walked in you saw the beautiful work done by our children, the jewellery exhibited tonight at the stands are the product of a project we support in Atteridgeville, which produces success stories. A young girl named Busi has started her own jewellery business. This is the positive talent we are supporting and will continue to do so. Our greatest ambition is to afford all children the opportunity to develop their talent and contribute meaningfully to society.
Ladies and Gentlemen, a night such as this allows us to appreciate And reflect on the sterling contributions already made by
donors and supporters.
First, let me thank and welcome SAPPI who became President Club's members in 1996 and are tonight graduating to Lifetime membership. Vodacom started their relationship with the Fund in 1998 as President Club Members and I am pleased to announce that they are graduating to Lifetime Membership as well. Vodacom has also been contributing towards the Nelson Mandela Birthday Celebration and Annual Children's Celebration. I will also like to welcome on board, Maitland and
Company, a UK based legal team led by a South African, Michael Solomon, who kept his African roots alive and in mind, even across the seas. Maitland and Company becomes the Lifetime Member, having donated more than £1 million in services since 1996, over and above this they also offer our UK Affiliate Office free legal advise and office space. Finally, allow me to say my heartfelt thanks to Charles Stewart Mott Foundation who kick-started the Fund's Endowment Plan by contributing $2 million.
The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund is today inaugurating a new club membership category, the Legacy Club Membership. I must say I am informed and honored that for the first time I am the one that gets presented with the award, a watch signed by myself. Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, through their contribution to the Fund's Endowment Plan, becomes the second Legacy Award recipient, following the Founder and Chairperson of the Fund. A special watch that I have signed will be presented to Christa Kuljian tonight by me. She will also be awarded a Lifetime Membership certificate.
Later tonight the Fund's CEO will present Charlotte Di Vita with a Goodwill Ambassador Award. She became the Goodwill Ambassador through our UK Affiliate Office. Also to be awarded with certificates will be Imagine That. The other award recipient will be Securities Institute.
Let me also sincerely thank Robert Weil from New York, a representative of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. The organization recognises individuals who make a difference to the image of Black people around the world. I thank them for the award and honour bestowed on me on the Literary Work category on my contribution to the children's storybook: "Madiba's Favourite Folktales."
Lastly, join me in thanking my dependable Deputy Chair, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, my untiring and resourceful Chief Executive Officer, Sibongile Mkhabela. I shall be failing if I do not extend my appreciation to all Management Trustees, Advisory Board Members, all Trustees and the members of staff of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund for a job well done. Their support and hard work is towards the advancement of the Fund and its mission is invaluable.
(Handwritten insert by Mandela) Contribution of Business
Ladies and Gentlemen thank you for joining us, celebrate with us and have a safe drive home.
I thank you all.