2017-03-07 06:00
 Photo: nosipho mkhizeEkuzameni founder Joyce Mathoni Mchunu (left) and Luyanda Nonkeneza.

Photo: nosipho mkhizeEkuzameni founder Joyce Mathoni Mchunu (left) and Luyanda Nonkeneza.

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EKUZAMENI Crisis Centre was established in 1998 by a Clermont resident, Joyce Mathoni Mchunu.
At the time she worked at KwaDabeka Clinic and came across many abused women, some of whom had been raped.
“We used to give them information on what to do when one has been abused and we gave them blankets and counselling. Seeing these women broke my heart and I wondered what I could do to help them.
“I then spoke to one of the nurses at the clinic and told her I wanted to open a crisis centre. The nurse advised me to speak to the councillor, the late John Mchunu.”

Mchunu was stationed at the KwaDabeka police station to help abused women, orphans and vulnerable children.
“I recruited four volunteers. It was hard at the time because I was still employed at the clinic and I had to monitor the volunteers in my lunch time.
“The Victim Empowerment Task Team from the Department of Social Development kept visiting me and wanted me to resign and be trained at the University of Natal in community development programme - this was in 1999.

“We used to have a crisis centre in Hillcrest, but criminals broke into the centre and took everything, the value of which was R100 000.
“At the crisis centre we had permanent staff who were paid by the Department of Social Development, however, it hasn’t been a pleasure working with them because they still have not paid the staff since August last year.”

After Mchunu received her certificate in community development she said she was more informed on how to run the organisation. 
“I started to do my own fund-raising for the organisation. In 2005 we had to move to Sibusisiwe Organisation in Clermont because we couldn't use the office at the Clinic therefore we had to find premises.
“It was tough because we worked in one room where we attended to victims, counselled them and did office work.
“In 2006 Community Care Centre, now called Jump Start, donated a plot of land to us and built a centre - the Ekuzameni Crisis Centre for us near the Sibusisiwe Organisation in Clermont.”

The centre helps abused women, orphans and vulnerable children. It runs a feeding scheme from Monday to Friday and helps HIV and Aids victims and has various support groups.
“When we have funds we teach life skills to primary and high-school pupils. In 2005 the National Development Agency gave us a funding that enables us to teach life skills at 17 schools and at that time we identified many rape victims.
“Our biggest challenge now is funding. We haven’t received funds from the National Lottery for two years and this has resulted in a backlog caused a backlog in terms of funds and the organisation expenses.”

For more information, contact 072 796 4628.


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