Jes Foord’s new haven of hope

2014-03-27 00:00

IT used to be a thicket on an unkempt piece of land on Abbot Francois Road in Mariannhill, but today it is a haven of hope.

Yesterday, Jes Foord, who had founded the Jes Foord Foundation after she had been raped in 2008, opened a multi-purpose counselling centre named after her.

The Jes Foord Foundation Mariannhill Counselling Centre officially opened its gates yesterday and it promises to do more than offer trauma counselling for rape victims. Their message to rape survivors is for them to remember that they are braver than they believe and that there is life after tragedy.

The centre also houses a colourful child play therapy room for abused children, a drug and alcohol addiction counselling room, cosy counselling rooms and an HIV/Aids testing centre and will offer life skills courses of the community — all free of charge.

They have partnered with several non-governmental and non-profit organisations.

The centre is welcoming, warm and tender.

As part of the Vodacom Change the World programme, a trained psychologist, Michelle Smith, also had a hand in making sure that the dream of having the centre is realised.

Smith, who holds a BA Honours in Psychology, joined the foundation last year.

Through the programme that paid her an annual salary, she devoted her time and skills at the foundation after quitting her job at a private practice in 2012. Smith described Foord as a strong leader and a true example that life goes on.

Yesterday was the first time Foord, who is still on maternity leave after giving birth to fraternal twins, had laid eyes on the centre.

She thanked the all the sponsors and her supporters for all their efforts. She said that it has been absolutely awesome to see the dream becoming a reality and said the vision for the Foundation keeps on getting better.

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