There is something special about Viva Kids. The smiles, the look of hope, the resilience in the face of adversity.
Viva Kids is a dream that formed in the heart of founder and CEO Meleney Kriel in the late nineteen-nineties. The idea that an orphan is not to be deemed a liability to the state, but a treasure, a valuable human resource. Only investing a few years of quality education, care and support, will break the poverty cycle and help that child to become a happy and successful contributor, a leader in society. Meleney dreamed of creating such a space and programme - beautiful enough that no orphan, or vulnerable child will feel stigma. She dreamed of centres, called Viva Villages, where the care and education are of such a standard, that other children would wish they could be Viva Kids.
At the same time, Leon Kriel, who founded Viva together with his wife Meleney, had a dream to create a functioning, well-run, safe and beautiful space right within an area of abject poverty, from where the surrounding community could be reached, uplifted and beautified. The marriage of these two dreams, became the Viva Villages and Viva Connect centre we see today.
Looking today into faces of Viva Kids in Mamelodi, Refilwe, South Africa and Sao Paolo, Brazil, where we have a new Viva Village developing, makes one realise that, that dream has come true.