Advocacy centre pleads for funding

Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre has called on the private sector to help it with funding.

The Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre faces closure in November. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

CAPE TOWN - The Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, which promotes women's rights, says it has not received any lifeline yet as it faces a possible closure in November.

The non-profit centre, which was launched in 1996, has been helping to improve criminal justice for women.

The centre has approached possible corporate donors, but no one has been able to come to their rescue.

The centre's Shireen Motara told the Redi Thlabi Show they were in crisis because their European donors were taking strain.

"I think it's also important to contextualise our situation within the broader context of other NGOs also facing the same challenges that we are. And particularly the gender based violence sector is very hard hit as far as struggling to get funding is concerned.

"In terms of some of the issues that have given rise to this, I think we all know there's a global funding crisis and because we are highly dependent on international donors, if European countries are in crisis, then in a sense we are in crisis because there's less money that comes from them to causes in South Africa."

Motara said they did not receive government funds.

"We don't necessarily benefit directly from government funds because we don't deliver services directly to women. For example, we are not like Rape Crisis or a community-based organisation that provides services to walk-in women clients. However, our role is to critically support those organisations to be able to respond to women on the ground."

She challenged companies to get involved.

"Corporates need to come to the party a bit more. They need to be more proactive in terms of responding to causes. Gender-based violence is a challenge in our society. Every week we are faced with young children and older women being killed.

"It's a problem for the entire society not just for the government and NGOs. Corporates are directly affected by the fact that women who work for them have to deal with violence and often don't have the support they need."

According to statistics, 80 percent of non-profit organisations have to retrench staff and cut services as a direct result of funding cuts.