Nest egg spent on new wing for women's centre

2016-06-30 08:47

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Cape Town - Your out of season couch or mismatched furniture could be put to better use, as the Saartjie Baartman Centre appeals for donations to kit out the new wing of its Athlone premises.

The facility for abused women and children will soon open its overhauled detox centre.

The project cost the NPO R80 000, its entire nest egg, explained centre director Shaheema McLeod.

But she felt the project was long overdue, owing to the large number of substance abusers seeking help.

“Currently about 80% of the women who seek assistance from us test positive for drugs,” McLeod said.

“In many cases this is a coping mechanism for the abuse they endure, while in others they are forced onto substances by their partners as a means of control.”

The centre’s intake profile was changing.

'Substance abuse is a big issue'

“The women are very young, some barely 18 years old. Substance abuse is a big issue; it’s almost expected.”

Over the past few years, the organisation had seen a 65% increase in the number of women and children seeking help.

“Violence against women and children continues to increase and drug and alcohol abuse is merely fuelling an already volatile situation. The in-patient programme will go a long way in assisting women survivors of violence in getting back on their feet and fending for themselves,” McLeod said. 

Most of the time, mothers seeking help for dependency issues relapsed as they were more focused on the well-being of their children, she continued.

This would be resolved as centre staff would take care of the little ones in a separate wing of the facility, so the mothers could focus on fighting their addiction.

The centre was established 17 years ago and had so far assisted 180 000 victims of crime and violence. It had been divided into four wings to accommodate the detox centre.

Detox programme

The orientation wing allows for a two-week stay where women receive a psychological, psychiatric and health assessment. Children of mothers in the detox programme are also accommodated.

The second wing is for the in-patient detox programme.

The third accommodates women for a three-and-a-half month stay where referrals are done, legal work such as protection orders are handled, and clients are given skills training.

The fourth wing is for the independent living programme, where women stay for an additional six months. A fee of R400 is charged, which is entirely reimbursed at the end of the sixth months so she has a deposit for a place to live once she leaves.

McLeod said the orientation wing had not yet been furnished as the centre was not financially able to cover this.

She appealed to corporate and private donors to donate furniture, bedding, clothes, or food to the centre.

- For more information, visit the website or phone 021 633 5287.

Read more on:    cape town  |  gender equality  |  good news

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