AVBOB takes the stand against GBV to the next level with sponsorship for helpline

Mara Glennie, founder and director of the TEARS Foundation and Carl van der Riet, AVBOB CEO, elbow bump on the funeral service and insurance group’s branded sponsorship agreement of TEARS’ free USSD helpline (*134*7355#)

As part of its recently-launched 365+ campaign, AVBOB is intensifying its fight against the brutal scourge of Gender-based Violence (GBV) by taking up the sole branded sponsorship of the TEARS Foundation’s free USSD helpline (*134*7355#).

Last month the funeral service and insurance group launched its 365+ campaign by donating R210 000 towards seven NGOs across the country that are involved in combatting GBV. At the time, AVBOB’s CEO, Carl van der Riet, explained the symbolism of 365+ to AVBOB’s commitment in taking a stand against GBV: “Our efforts with the 365+ campaign will extend beyond donations to drive awareness and to enable people to speak up, every single day, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year.”
That commitment is now reinforced through AVBOB’s sponsorship of the TEARS Foundation, launched with this release, which will run for an initial period of one year. TEARS has a strong presence in South Africa and in the last 12 months, 57 318 victims of sexual violence were helped through its free 24-hour Help-at-your-fingertips® helpline platform, *134*7355#.

In South Africa, one in every three women experience physical and sexual violence and abuse during their lifetime.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with our society and with our economy and the lockdown has had a devastating impact on many lives. But, in the midst of all of this trauma and this upheaval there is another pandemic that has been plaguing our society for years and that has reared its ugly head again. And this is the pandemic of GBV,” Van der Riet says, commenting on AVBOB’s NGO donations, the sponsorship of the TEARS helpline and the group’s stand against the travesty that is GBV.

He adds: “This partnership with the TEARS Foundation is very important to AVBOB, which has been around for over 100 years, serving our communities and serving our families and as such is an integral part of the fabric of South African society. One of our core values within the firm, within AVBOB, is the value of family and the concept of family. We hold this concept very dear and one of the parts of it is that everyone stands together, no one is left out, no one is excluded, and the issues that impact on one member of a family impact on the whole family and therefore it’s the obligation of every member of the family to participate in finding resolution.”

Van der Riet says it is incumbent on all, especially as we celebrate Women’s Month, to take a stand against this blight that is destroying communities: “All the individuals and organisations who work so closely with the victims of this horror know that the violence against our women and children does not end there. It continues when they try to report their abuse. It continues every time they are dismissed or diminished or ignored. It continues as long as we stand by and do nothing. We want to put a stop to this. We have stood by the graveside and witnessed the grief and anger and pain of families who have lost their daughters, their sisters, their mothers to this horror.”

TEARS welcomes AVBOB involvement

Founder and director of TEARS, Mara Glennie welcomes the partnership with AVBOB. “We thank AVBOB for partnering with the TEARS Foundation to provide support and offer hope to those in our community whose lives have been affected by GBV. Together we can make a difference.

One of the things that we love about AVBOB is their slogan, We’re here for you® because that’s what we at TEARS believe; we need to be here for you. That truly amplifies what we try to offer through TEARS. For us it is an ideal partnership. AVBOB is an established organisation that is committed to the growth in our country, as we at TEARS are committed to the women and children of our country that have been raped and abused. So, it is a real delight to know that we no longer walk alone, but that we walk with AVBOB.”

The TEARS Foundation is a woman-led anti-sexual violence organisation for victims of rape and abuse nationally and has been at the forefront of the South African response to sexual violence for the past eight years. It helps nationwide with a 24-hour, free USSD service to anyone who has access to a mobile phone, regardless of ethnicity, religion, culture or socio-economic background or location.

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