Meleney B. Kriel

Viva Foundation of South Africa
371 Moshumi Street, Ext. 22, Alaska Informal Settlement, Mamelodi East, 0122

What Does Your Company Do?

The Objectives and Activities of the Viva Foundation of SA The organisation aims to be instrumental in transformation of informal settlements into stable neighbourhoods and does so by operating service centres within these communities, with the following focus areas: 1.1 The prevention and relief of poverty in underprivileged communities in South Africa and other Developing Countries through 1.1.1 Developing skills and enterprise by offering free, or subsidised training and material assistance to informal traders and unemployed adults and youth. 1.1.2 Job creation, by establishing community service centres and employing and qualifying local job-seekers. 1.1.3 Strengthening the capacity of underprivileged families to care for orphans and children made vulnerable by disease, crime and societal inequality, by providing free material assistance, training and home-based care. 1.1.4 Addressing Food Insecurity and Under-nourishment as a result of abject poverty, by providing a feeding scheme comprising of cooked meals, food parcels and growing community vegetable gardens. 1.2 The advancement of education in underprivileged communities in South Africa and other Developing Countries by providing subsidised Early Childhood Development programmes and Day Care, Independent Education and After-School programmes. 1.3 The advancement of the arts in underprivileged communities in South Africa and other Developing Countries through: 1.3.1 Community Art Festivals, e.g. the annual Viva Township Art Festival 1.3.2 Music Tuition at the organisation’s centres as part of its Education Programmes 1.3.3 Visual Arts Tuition in the form of workshop and training 1.3.4 Performing Arts Tuition in the form of workshops and talent competitions 1.4 The advancement of Gender Equality in the South African Society and other Developing Countries through 1.4.1 Sexual- and Domestic Violence prevention and response by deploying panic buttons combined with trained community-based response. 1.4.2 Victim Empowerment through group-counselling, awareness campaigns, training and advocacy.

What is your Biggest Success?

Building the Viva Team is my proudest achievement and greatest joy. Our team is a family of 25 staff members and hundreds of volunteers, who enjoy their jobs, are passionate about our vision and the children and families we serve. I have developed training materials, projects, written books, published music CD's and built an organisation from scratch into a viable and duplicable model for social impact, but these things are nothing without the people that makes it all work. Impact is made by a faculty of bright and happy teachers, a cook, a social worker and her team of community respondents, a dedicated group of care givers and the hard work of a project manager and his team of builders. The Viva Team is the true makers of impact and I can boast in them, because I have become their mother, their mentor and their guide.

What has been your Biggest Hurdle?

A lack of resources. Finding funding is a constant activity and worry. If I had people of means, who could see what we are doing, how it impacts our community and how it could and should be duplicated to every informal settlement in the country, we could reach our vision and dream to transform all of these communities. I see daily how the lack of political will and the subsequent lack of spending, are putting women and girls at risk. Gender-based Violence costs our country 5 % of the GDP, yet our Women's Ministry has one of the smallest budgets of all. I see funding come into the country and disappear at municipal level. I hear almost once a week that I have to remove salaries of my submitted budgets. This is being said by a person somewhere in a corporation, or government department, who earns a salary 3 times higher than our teachers with degrees. The lack of resources is like a ball and chain to my feet. How I wish I had real money to make a real difference.

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