Centre continues to give hope

2019-04-30 06:00
Judy Strickland

Judy Strickland

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With the Hope House Counselling Centre in Bergvliet celebrating its 15th anniversary, founder Judy Strickland says the focus for this year and next year is on having trauma-informed schools.

Strickland says the aim is to get all teachers to understand trauma and be trauma-sensitive.

Working with more that 20 schools in the province, she says a lot needs to be done to ensure that learners are given an opportunity and a chance to be children and not be traumatised again when they go to school.

“We want our teachers to know what is happening to our children. We don’t want them to have secondary trauma at schools. My focus this year, is to help the teachers to understand trauma and how to deal with it so that the learner can have the best experience at school. Our children come from difficult situations and we want teachers to realise the trauma and do something to help,” she says.

The centre offers schools training and guidance on becoming a trauma-informed school. The workshop they run at schools shows the impact of trauma on the brain of learners.

“Our aim is to make a difference in the lives of the learners, give them hope and help them to remain at school and complete school,” she says.

From what started in Strickland’s lounge, Hope House Counselling Centre has grown in leaps and bounds, and has three centres: one in Bergvliet which was the first one, another in Kuils River and the other in Table View.

Strickland, a qualified counsellor says she was helping out at a church with counselling and realised the need for counselling. “People in that community wanted help but they didn’t want to come to church for counselling. Now the challenge was that they also couldn’t afford going for private counselling as it was very experience. That lead to the birth of Hope House,” she says.

They offer donation-based counselling. With 95 volunteers, last year they had 11 500 counselling sessions. “With the numbers, you can see the need. Our services are free but those that want to donate can do so. We are happy with the impact that we are making for the learners and families. Especially children. A lot of the people that we deal with are children,” she says.


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