South Africa: Radio Stations Aid Disadvantaged Communities

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Radio stations and their listeners across the country have been aiding disadvantaged communities in their regions through various CSI projects by raising funds, distributing food and providing necessary school materials for less fortunate children.

These magic helpers include 567 CapeTalk, East Coast Radio, MPowerFM, Capricorn FM and trufm. 567 CapeTalk held a radiothon on 26 January 2009 in partnership with Ikamva Labantu from 6am - 6pm and raised R3 750 190 for orphans and vulnerable children.

Ikamva Labantu is a community development organisation that feeds, clothes and educates orphaned children on R150 a month. It gives this amount to community carers who are accountable for the stipend.

Programming on the station for the day highlighted the plight of children, as well as the work done by individuals and organisations. CapeTalk listeners were asked to donate R150 per month, for a year. Pledges came from listeners as well as Cape Town mayor Helen Zille and premier Lynne Brown and the corporate community.

"We were astounded at the response; it was quite unprecedented. But what really impressed me was that the bulk of money was committed by listeners - it speaks volumes about the power of talk radio to mobilise people," said 567 CapeTalk station manager Colleen Louw.

East Coast Radio's Toy Story 2008 campaign recently came to a close after nine weeks of collecting toys and cash for less fortunate children in Kwazulu-Natal. The campaign raised just over R1 million for food parcels and toys distributed to underprivileged children.

The food parcels, valued at R300 each, were supplied by Spar and were distributed to child-headed/care-giver households in the region, with a focus on those affected with HIV and AIDS. The contents of the parcels were approved by Spar's group nutritionist.

MPowerFM in partnership with BHP Billiton provided new school uniforms and stationery to eight street children as part of its Dare to Care project. The children, selected during a two-week campaign on MPowerFM in December 2008, are all from the Ethembeni Home for Street Children in Witbank.

"The children range in age from 6 to 14 years, and we know this will make a huge difference to their lives. We were transported around Witbank by Kohler Auto Witbank, and it's amazing how sponsors have come on board for this project," said Louisa van Wyk, MPowerFM's marketing manager.

The Department of Local Government and Housing in Limpopo and Capricorn FM handed over 16 newly-built homes to 16 women in Fetakgomo Village, Limpopo in December 2008 as part of its 16 Days, 16 Homes, 16 Families campaign.

Capricorn FM raised a further R42,000 for the campaign, handing the money to MEC of the Department of Local Government and Housing, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, for equal distribution among the beneficiaries. The event was part of 16 Days of Activism Against the Abuse of Women and Children and all beneficiaries were victims of domestic violence.

SABC youth radio station trufm (previously Radio CKI) has built a fully-equipped science laboratory at Unathi High School in the Eastern Cape.

Despite limited resources, the school had a 100% matric pass rate in 2007. This caught the eye of trufm management "The building of the lab is to encourage more effective teaching and also this is one of the ways that trufm is showing its dedication to the development of the Eastern Cape and its young people," said Siphelele Sixaso, the station's marketing manager.

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