2018 will be a very special year for the competition. We will celebrate our 8th year of the competition by doing our very first Celebrity Bachelor & Bachelorette competition!
The competition has always enlisted the help of celebrities to bring more attention to our causes. Celebrities are crucial for attracting publicity and raising awareness of charity appeals, campaigns, and events. An authentic connection to the cause is also an important factor, making the patronage more meaningful for the celebrity and more inspiring for the audience.
The Celebrity Bachelor & Bachelorette competition will include celebrities who have a personal connection to, and affinity with the causes we support, and who will compete against each other for this prestigious title.
Our focus for the Celebrity Bachelor & Bachelorette competition will remain on children. In essence, we as a society have failed our children. Every year we read more reports on violence against children, as well as their physical and emotional abuse, neglect, hunger and abandonment.
The South African Police Services reports that 50,000 children are victims of crime every year, with sexual offences constituting about 40 per cent of these cases. Research indicates that the vast majority of such cases happen in families.
Furthermore, parents are dying and leaving behind orphaned children. There are an estimated 3.7 million orphans in South Africa, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS; 150,000 children are believed to be living in child-headed households. Most of these kids go to bed hungry every night.
Many abused, neglected and abandoned children land up in children’s homes. Statistics on children in institutional care are not complete, but it is known that there are 345 registered children’s homes in South Africa, looking after some 21,000 children. In many cases children need to be placed in homes of safety where they remain hidden from abusive parents during criminal cases. Children are cared for until the juvenile court’s investigation is complete, and in many cases they stay longer because there is no space in orphanages or homes.
Children who suffer abuse and neglect may sustain a variety of devastating physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral problems. The effects vary with the age and personality of the victim, and also with the type and duration of the abuse experienced. Physical consequences may range from minor injuries to severe brain damage, while psychological harm ranges from lack of self-esteem to learning disorders to serious mental disorders. Many abused and neglected children develop behavioral problems that interfere with their education and lead to their involvement in delinquency. Maltreated children may run away from home, get involved with drugs and alcohol, experience intimacy problems, and self-harm.
Research has shown that significant proportions of adults who were abused as children go on to abuse their own children. Furthermore, serious negative outcomes are more likely if the abuse occurs over a longer period of time, if it involves acts of violence, or if the offender is a member of the family. While many maltreated children experience immediate and lifelong problems, many do not.
Research on promoting resiliency in children has found that the negative effects of abuse can be buffered when children form trusting relationships with adults, have structure and rules at home, are encouraged to be autonomous, and have access to health, education, welfare, and social services.
This year we will commit ourselves to support Charities that assist kids who went through unimaginable suffering that no child is supposed to experience in their lifetime. This includes Children’s Homes, Homes of Safety and Organisations that feed children.
As always we will continue to support childhood cancer. In South Africa, less than half of the children affected are diagnosed at an early stage and reach a treatment center in time. Many are diagnosed at an advanced stage of cancer with poorer treatment outcomes and almost half are never diagnosed and so do not receive any treatment.
For the first year we will also focus on animal charities. Although this is another direction we’re taking with the competition, for many people who can’t have their own children, their pets ARE their kids. Supporting a charity is a very personal choice and we all have causes that are close to our hearts. For those of us who love our pets, every single one of them is worth saving. We don’t pick and choose which ones deserve our time and care; we simply do our best to help as many as we possibly can with limited resources.
The official announcement about next year’s competition will be made at this year’s Gala Event. Make sure you follow us on all our social media sites for updates.