The Citizen newspaper has raised over R340 000 for its charity, Kids Haven, through the paper’s annual Citizen Charity Challenge. Publisher Greg Stewart says R1.64 million has been raised in the 10 years since the challenge was initiated.
“It is always something that makes me smile. We have always counted on the generosity of our customers and suppliers. But the real selling point is what Kids Haven do. They make a difference to lives of street kids, who would otherwise have been forgotten and fallen through the social cracks in our society. Kids Haven takes up the challenge of transforming the lives of the most venerable and neglected. It is truly a story of hope and seeing the fruits of this in these children’s lives is why year after year we get the support that makes it possible,” Stewart says.
Stewart says The Citizen has always supported Kids Haven, but that this year they branched out. “We made a commitment to Kids Haven and all funds raised at the Challenge have gone to them. This year we did auction on one item that was specifically donated to raise funds for CANSA that raised around R5 000 that is not included in the R340k,” he explains.
The money, says Stewart, is predominantly used to fund the entire education programme at Kids Haven. “We have seen kids who have gone through Kids Haven graduating from university. Others have been given skills and are working. Many of these children have had no formal education and they provide a bridging programme that gets the children to the point of being able to enter formal school. They also assess the kids to see who has aptitude for further learning and will support these children till they graduate. Others are trained in various skill programmes and are assisted in finding employment,” Stewart says.
He adds that the newspaper takes its CSI programmes “very seriously”. It even has its own registered charity fund that has supported many other charities over the years.
“We do our own fund raising events and on average contribute around R300 000 to various causes each year. In addition we give free advertising space in access of R500 000 a year to various charities,” he says. “We also have a dedicated charity page every Friday that highlights various charities and their needs and fundraising efforts. We also do an internal charity drive every December that our own staff contributes towards. It is vital that the little we can do, we do not leave undone. One life changed may be the life that changes thousands of others.”