SPAR Lowveld Lends Support to GBV Support Programmes

17 October 2021

On October 13, SPAR Lowveld sponsored R50 000 to the Greater Rape Intervention Programme (GRIP) to assist with revamping its Nelspruit Police Station trauma room and to assist with the two prevention programmes, Stepping Stones and I'm Safer.

GRIP has been providing services at the police station since 2000. It was in that year that two rooms in the building were identified and totally transformed into a dedicated victim support centre for survivors of rape and domestic violence to testify in privacy.  Since then, neither renovations nor repairs have been made and it looks very tired and non-user-friendly. “People need a safe space to feel heard and supported, that is why we are involved in the entire process,” said GRIP’s director and chairperson, Barbara Kenyon.

Sean Komlosy, divisional marketing executive of SPAR Lowveld, said, “We wanted to support GRIP to enable the organisation to continue to do this much-needed work. We seek to be enablers of change, and what better way to inspire people to do and be more than to provide a safer environment while also reaching out to communities? GRIP has played a vital role in ensuring the educational process and providing the basic resources to those affected by gender-based violence.”

Kenyon mentioned that with the lockdown restriction being eased, they were also able to start the two prevention programmes again and with SPAR’s contribution they can continue to assist those in need.

Stepping Stones (boys and girls aged 15-19 not in school) focuses on sexual and reproductive health and I’m Safer (girls aged 15-19 not enrolled in schools) deals with teaching these marginalised teens self-defence for difficult situations and how to stay safe. These programmes are run in Gert Sibande and Albert Luthuli local municipalities.

SPAR’s contribution of its Petals sanitary pads is a godsend to these girls, according to Christi Jackson, the programme administrator. In addition, GRIP also hands out SPAR Petals sanitary pads to sexually assaulted survivors and ladies in the shelter who need the basic essential care packs.

With the support from organisations like SPAR Lowveld, GRIP was able to reach 2 954 boys and girls through Stepping Stones in Carolina and 2 246 in Mkhondo. With I’m Safer, it reached out to 364 girls in Mkhondo and 479 girls in Albert Luthuli.

“We are excited to begin the revamp process and to continue the two prevention programmes. The care room will be maintained and operational during this time. GRIP is actively seeking funding to fund the care workers and first responders on a continual basis.

Thank you, SPAR Lowveld, for always assisting us through the most challenging times and giving us the opportunity to serve our community through these programmes. SPAR truly walks the talk. Thank you to Mariaan at Duram for sponsoring 20 litres of light grey paint and 20 litres of white paint for the revamp project,” said Kenyon.