Meet Valerie Kariem, National Project Manager for Zivikele Training. She is featured in this blog for our participation in the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign that has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
Valerie Kariem has dedicated her life to fighting child sexual exploitation in the disadvantaged Eastern Cape of South Africa. She is the National Project Manager of Zivikele Training, a NGO that uses a multi-sectoral approach to support victims of gender based violence. Valerie works with parents, churches, schools, and other NGOs in rural and remote areas, and focuses especially on direct support to victims.
Valerie puts the rights of the child at the center of her work.
She ensures that the human rights of victims are emphasized throughout their legal, medical and social support. Using this approach, Valerie has established six Victim Support Centres at police stations in various towns that protect the special rights of child victims. Her work resulted in the establishment of the new Child Law Manual.
Despite her successes, Valerie’s work has not been without difficulties. One of the greatest challenges she faces is the fact that legislation to combat trafficking in South Africa was only very recently signed and the implementation process has only just begun. Valerie, like many of her colleagues working on this issue world over, faces real challenges in fundraising and especially in getting her government to aid victims and survivors of trafficking.
Valerie participated in the Global Freedom Exchange in June, and she found the experience to be very enriching. She has already begun using materials for training made available to her by the global network of women formed during the two week program. Valerie says the program gave her hope much hope, as she learned new ways to improve victims service by adapting the models she visited to suit her own needs.
Valerie’s goal is to establish more safe homes for victims of trafficking in South Africa. She intends to launch more awareness campaigns, both nationally and in other Southern African countries, to fight trafficking on a regional level. She wants to raise awareness internationally and show the world that child sex trafficking in South Africa can no longer be ignored.