Some of UNICEF’s most-lauded efforts include a more than 80% reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV/Aids from 2008. But although the organisation has been active in South Africa for two decades, it reports that children still face tremendous challenges, especially when it comes to sexual violence, with at least one in three children affected by the scourge.
Chopra, a UNICEF Global Goodwill Ambassador, will deliver a keynote address at the gala, highlighting the insidious problem of abuse. An Indian actress, film producer and former Miss World, Chopra is also a renowned philanthropist.
“The global Ending Violence Against Children campaign and the visit by Priyanka Chopra to South Africa provides a unique opportunity for UNICEF South Africa to talk about its mandate, showcase its work and highlight the challenges faced by children affected by violence,” the organisation said in a statement this week.
“UNICEF South Africa envisages that participants of the event will better understand the impact of all forms of violence on children, their families and their communities. Participants will also gain an understanding of the actions that need to be taken to keep children safe while committing to supporting advocacy efforts through financial and or in-kind funding,” it added.
Documented rates of violence in South Africa are among the highest in the world, with many children experiencing repeated and multiple forms of violence. Furthermore, most incidents occur where children should feel safest – in their homes, schools and local communities, and are mainly perpetrated by relatives, neighbours, teachers and peers.
UNICEF estimates that violence cost the South African economy more than R238 billion in 2015 alone.
“We all urgently need to take action to ensure children are safe and cared for,” the statement read.
One of the key UNICEF projects that stand to benefit from fundraising efforts is the Safe Parks initiative, where spaces for learning and recreation are created in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Safe Parks offers education, counselling services, nutrition and life skills – or just a chance to play, sing and dance.
“There is a need to expand the number of safe parks and upgrade the service of some of the existing safe parks to respond to the needs of the children in specific geographical location,” UNICEF explained.
*For any inquiries or in order to book a table at the event at Joburg’s Hyatt Hotel, contact Sandra Bisin, Head of Communication and Partnerships at UNICEF South Africa, on firstname.lastname@example.org.