Childline Gauteng benefits from futher BitCo investment
Leading independent telecoms provider BitCo has upped its on-going commitment to Childline by connecting the charity’s satellite offices to each other, resulting in 100% uptime since 2011.
“Reliable connectivity is the foundation of the telephonic counselling that has become a virtual lifeline for the thousands of young people in abusive situations helped every month by the different Childline branches.
“We are thrilled that our initial support of Childline has progressed to the point where real cost savings are being realised that can be plowed back into the good work done by this worthy volunteer organisation,” said Michael Colin, BitCo Sales Director.
BitCo was initially approached by Childline Gauteng to install a PBX system. After installing a VoIP-based PBX system, the telecoms firm went way beyond the original specification and decided to offer Childline KZN the opportunity to also benefit from affordable and reliable alternatives to traditional landlines.
“Assisting Childline in a very real way that was in alignment with our core business became addictive and before we knew it, BitCo began connecting the different Childline satellite offices,” added Mr Colin.
According to Lynne Cawood, Director of Childline Gauteng: “Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and many only have intermittent access to telephonic communication to seek help. It is absolutely imperative that we are always available on the other end of the line.
Importantly in the context of rampant copper cable theft, the wireless technology employed by BitCo means that its network is virtually immune from the scourge of cable theft. New connections can also be installed rapidly while BitCo’s wireless connection points are underpinned by a growing fibre-optic network, providing excellent quality of service and unparalleled uptime.
At present, BitCo is working to connect all the Childline Gauteng sites to the main Johannesburg office located at the old Children’s Hospital in Braamfontein. This will mean that calls can be transferred between all these Community Based Centres at no cost. Aside from the cost saving, this type of easy connectivity betters the organisation’s service to children and to the community, improves productivity and enables managers to analyse the calls made to Childine. If necessary, staffing and other strategies can also be refined.
BitCo’s sponsorship includes the telecommunications equipment as well as handsets for the satellite offices. The safe houses have cordless units so that even while supervisors are outside the office with the children, they can be reached in an emergency.
“Reliable connectivity is about more than simply hardware,” points out Mr Colin. “We have also included training and ongoing support.” As regards support, the main Childline Gauteng office in Johannesburg has full 365/24/7 support, while Childline KwaZulu-Natal and iThemba have support during office hours. The satellite offices are connected to the main PBX and so fall under that service-level agreement.
“Thanks to BitCo, we are building up a network that is geared to our specific needs,” says Childline’s Lynne Cawood. “The all-important link to children in need is one element, but the other is the huge improvement in our ability to collaborate with each other. That’s essential as the organisation grows. We have limited funds, so making the best use of our people is vital, and our new telephone network is helping us do that.”
Childline Gauteng Province (CL GP) initiated under the umbrella of the SA Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. Childline Gauteng was subsequently taken over by the Johannesburg Children’s Home as a project comprising two telephone lines and two volunteers answering calls for help. Childline Gauteng has grown considerably since then and now operates from seven (7) Community-Based Centres (CBC’s) within the province (Inner City, Soweto, Diepsloot, Tembisa, Katlehong, Orange Farm and Sebokeng.
Mr Colin concluded, “Childline is a cause close to our hearts because connectivity is used to assist children. We love the fact that the technology that many of us so often take for granted is able to assist our most vulnerable members of society in a very real and tangible way.”