Safehouse raided

2015-10-13 06:00
Janine Poggenpoel, manager of the safehouse for women and children in Wynberg which was broken into. 

astrid februarie

Janine Poggenpoel, manager of the safehouse for women and children in Wynberg which was broken into. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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A safehouse for abused women and children experienced a huge blow when the property was broken into and items worth R45 000 stolen.

Now the home is in dire need of supplies and is turning to the public for support.

The home is situated in Wynberg, but the precise address cannot be revealed to protect the vulnerable women and children who live at the premises.

Warrant officer Silvino Davids, spokesperson of Wynberg police station, has confirmed the break-in.

The safehouse is managed by Lavender Hill-based organisation Philisa Abafazi Bethu.

Manager Janine Poggenpoel says the home is an emergency facility which provides a safe space for women for up to 72 hours. But there has been women and their children who have stayed longer, depending on their situation.

“We take care of these women and children and provide them with a place of safety, away from their abusive homes and partners,” she says.

The break-in has made it difficult for them to take on more people as they are low on supplies.

“We can only accommodate a certain number of people as we rely on donations and fundraisers who host events to raise the money needed to buy basic supplies,” she says.

Poggenpoel says the property stolen includes brand new blankets, as well as food and clothing.

“These are all basic items required to help the women and children. It is tough for us now, but somehow we manage. But we do call on the public to support us and our cause,” she says.

The home has been open since 2012 and caters for women and children from all communities.

Some of the women who enter the home come with little or nothing and everything is provided for them – from clothing and food to supplies for their babies, which Poggenpoel says is “extremely costly”.

“We feel bad when we have to turn someone away because we do not have enough space or food. We have dedicated our time to this home, to making it a place where women and their children can feel safe. Here we guide and protect them, but we cannot do it without the support of the public,” she says.

Poggenpoel says after the break-in everyone is feeling vulnerable and scared.

“We are only women here and we feel like our space has been invaded. The little bit that we have was taken from us and for women and children who come from abusive backgrounds it is extremely scary,” she adds.

Poggenpoel says that despite the break-in they will continue to provide a safe space for women and children who are victims of sexual and domestic violence to live freely and without fear and to support and educate women and children about their rights and freedoms.

Readers who want to donate or make a contribution toward the safehouse can contact Poggenpoel on 081 320 5834.

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