LIMPOPO – The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP), a rural domestic violence NGO evicted from their offices in December, has been given renewed hope thanks to a generous donation.
The TVEP is now able to operate once again after finding temporary office space thanks to a benefactor.
The TVEP was last year evicted from the Old Embassy building in Sibasa which is owned by Public Works after they failed to keep up with their rent payments.
Health-e News published news of their plight, and soon after TVEP received a donation of R150 000 from the Open Society Foundation (OSF). This gift will enable them to pay their rent in the new building for 12 months, with their new office not being far from the Old Embassy building where they had operated from for almost 20 years.
“We are kind of relieved knowing that for 2019 we will still be able to continue to operate, though it does not offer us a permanent solution,” said TVEP spokesperson, Tshilidzi Masikhwa.
He said that they were still worried about all the furniture that was lost when they were thrown out of their offices last year.
“The day we were evicted, it was raining. Due to that most of our furniture was damaged, and the worst part is that it took us over 18 years to collect those desks,” he said.
TVEP provides counselling, advocacy, support, access to physical examinations, and anti-retroviral treatment to hundreds of people in the Vhembe district. Over the years the NGO has been reliant on foreign aid donations, which mostly covered their operational costs.
“We still have hope that the government will step in and help us find a permanent solution, as we cannot afford to shut down the NPO because thousands of victims have learned to rely on us. If we close we will be disappointing many people,” said Masikhwa. TVEP have been offered the chance to buy the new building they are renting but would need to find R1,6-million to do so.
“If we get help and enough donations, the owner of the building is offering to sell the building to us so that we can have our permanent offices and no longer have to worry about rent issues,” he said.
In recent months TVEP has written letters to various government departments pleading for help, including to the office of the president. They have planned a protest march over the weekend, which will be aimed at drawing the attention of President Cyril Ramaphosa who will be at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday. – Health-e News.