The Safe House annual general meeting, held on 22 September in Stellenbosch, opened with some scary statistics. Safe House manager Lee Rossouw reported that,
“Three women are killed every day at the hands of their intimate partner. That’s one every eight hours, and South Africa has a femicide rate five times higher than any other country in the world.”
But if you believe that those are just faceless, nameless statistics, then you are very much mistaken. At Stellenbosch Safe House those shocking records of abuse against women show up at their door on a daily basis. Since its inception in 2006 and opening of its doors in 2008, Safe House has given shelter to more than 400 women and children. Lee went on to explain that Safe House is the only shelter for abused women in the Greater Stellenbosch Municipal District, Helderberg and Overberg region, and so the need for a place of safety far outweighs their capacity to take in everyone who reaches out for help.
“Currently we only have eleven beds, but we have approved plans to expand in the near future – although we are not sure where all the money will come from for the necessary expansions. We have also just learned that with our adding more rooms and beds, we will also need to upgrade our kitchen and are currently busy with that undertaking.”
As a registered non-profit organisation, Safe House relies heavily on funding and donations from the community.
Safe House team from Left: Skills trainer Charlene , Finances Aletia, Manager Lee and social worker Blanchè .
Main contributors to the income of the Safe House in the past year were:
Department of Social Development: 44.98%
Larger contributors >R100 000 per entity: 25.66%
Medium contributors >R10 000 per entity: 19.37%
Small contributors <R10 000 per entity or individual: 9.99%
As you can see from the financial report, nearly 10 % of the Safe House’s income comes from many smaller contributions.
“It’s our goal to grow our Friends of the Safe House initiative, where people donate just R100 or R200 per month. That little bit adds up and goes a long way to sustain our cash flow for basic necessities,” Lee says.
The AGM was also the perfect opportunity to give special acknowledgement to the regular and loyal donors and volunteers, not to mention the staff who work relentlessly and are emotionally invested in every woman who enters the Safe House. To say thank you to her team, Lee gave each one of them a crown as a symbol of their immeasurable worth to the organisation.
The new executive committee was also announced at the meeting.
Safe House’s next awareness campaign will start in November: Paint Show Tell. Click here to learn more.
The meeting was closed with these inspirational words by John Wesley.
Safe House always welcomes donations and volunteers.
Spring has arrived, and it’s that time of the year when most of us want to de-clutter the house, clean the nooks and crannies and get ready for the long summer.
And do it for a purpose!
Not only will you feel lighter getting rid of the clutter, you can also make a huge difference in someone’s life by donating your unwanted things.
[Read more about donating to Safe House Stellenbosch here].
Although it is always a daunting task to start the spring clean, the best thing you can do is just start because once you get going, you’re likely to just keep going. The trick is just to make a list of all the rooms and cupboards that you want to clean out and earmark a charity /family member / friend that you want to donate your unwanted things to. The next step is to then tackle the smallest area first; it could just be the linen closet or one of the bedroom cupboards.
Here are more tips for digging deep, cleaning out and gifting your unwanted items.
Your wardrobe – ask yourself these key questions to decide what stays and what goes.
- Does this fit?
- Have I worn this in the last 12 months?
- Is it likely I will ever wear this again?
- Is this currently in style, and/or does this still accurately represent my style?
- If I was shopping right now, would I buy this?
- And most importantly: Do I feel confident when I wear this?
If you answer a firm “no” to any of the above, it’s time to let it go!
In your kitchen…
Make room in your cupboards by getting rid of things that you never use and take up space: odd and old tupperware, pots and pans, utensils, dishcloths, glasses, mugs and plates and even old appliances – all of these could go to a good home!
We at Safe House always send our ladies off to their brand new start with as much kitchenware as we can spare, so that they can cook for their kids in their new place. So, if you have a pile of branded conference mugs at home, please consider donating them to us!
Your linen closet…
Probably the one place where you are hoarding old towels and linen that you never use. Seriously, if you haven’t had a need for it in the last two years, it’s unlikely you will again. We welcome any donations of towels, bedding and curtains. Contact us here to make a donation.
The kids’ room: Toys and clothes
Any parent will agree that these can pile up and can admit that kids usually have their favourite items and many things just never get played with anymore. Now imagine the kids who comes clutching his mom’s hand to Safe House with no special toy… In many instances it would be under the circumstances of fleeing, which means no time to pack ANYTHING. Any toys or children’s clothes you can spare will be deeply appreciated by mom and child.
If you feel inspired to spring clean with a purpose and would like to choose Safe House Stellenbosch as your designated charity, we’d be happy to give you the donations address to come and drop it. Please send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer, read this post about the experience of two of our volunteers. We could really use your help.
As a non-profit organisation that relies heavily on community involvement we are always grateful for volunteers who come and assist us by giving us their time. You’d be surprised to see how much good a crafting, cooking or baking group activity can do to lift the spirits of the downtrodden. Some volunteers also arrange outings for the women and their children, which is always a treat.
If you are thinking of becoming a volunteer, click here, and read what two of our very involved volunteers have to say about their experience at Safe House.
Carolien is a housewife who leads group craft projects and general skills training once a week for two hours. She has been volunteering at Safe House for the last six years.
Q: How did you find out about Safe House?
A: Eiekestad News (Local News Paper)
Q: What motivates you to be volunteer?
A: Creativity brings me joy and sharing it doubles the pleasure.
Q: What have you learned from your experience at Safe House?
A: People need a place of safety when life gives them a blow. Here they can recuperate, get training and skills development and therapy, enabling them to enter society stronger.
Q: What has been one of your most memorable moments at Safe House?
A: After a few sessions of crafts people start believing in themselves, see beauty in creativity, try things they have never imagined doing and loving it. The trauma of abuse dims the light in their eyes and I have witnessed a few lights coming back on during my years as a volunteer. Smiles appeared after they were sure they cannot do it. Being part of that growth and accomplishment made me realize everyone can make a difference with their talents and contributions. Seeing the change in a person is the bet reward anyone can ask for.
Q: What’s on the top of your wishlist for Safe House?
A: 1.The perfect house would be a room for each individual. 2. Courses for free education. 3. Sport clubs giving them free entrance.
Carolien says, “The people working here all very dedicated. They are my heroes. I do suffer when kids come in and pray when they go out, that their moms can cope with the demands of the outside world. My wish for them is a place where they can go, like a clubhouse to help them with day to day problems.”
Lucille started volunteering at Safe House in June this year (2016). She visits once a week (sometimes with her daughter) and assists with the skills training by teaching cooking, baking or an art form.
V: Hoe het jy betrokke geraak?
A: Ek wou graag iewers in die gemeenskap betrokke raak by vroue waar ek ‘n klein verskil kan maak. Ek het by Lee Rossouw gehoor van die Safe House en weer op Facebook gesien dat hulle vrywilligers nodig het. Daarna het ek hulle gekontak en betrokke geraak.
V: Wat het jy sover geleer iut jou ervaaring hier?
A: Ek het ontsettend baie geleer uit die ervaring. Hier kan n mens in ‘n goed georganisserde opset deur iets kleins te doen n verskil maak in vroue met baie seer in hulle lewe. Hulle is so dankbaar vir kleinste iets en werk so lekker saam. Ek het voorheen groepwerk gedoen maar dit nog nooit so positief beleef nie. Al die personeel is so positief en behulpsaam en maak dat die ervaring altyd baie lekker is. Ek leer elke keer iets by die vroutens, al is dit net om dankbaar te wees vir my eie huislike omstandighede en veiligheid asook my voorreg om n vrou te wees.
V: Beskryf ‘n ontvergeetlike oomblik wat jy hier ervaar het?
A: Die oomblik wanneer daar begin lig kom in daardie vroue se oe,wanneer hulle hul koppe oplig na n week daar en net begin spontaan begin deelneem aan enige iets wat jy doen. Hulle dankbaarheid is ook baie besonders! Al die personeel se hulp en positiwiteit is ook baie inspirerend. Ek dink net die hele warm en veilige , liefdevolle omgewing wat hulle daar skep is ongelooflik!
V: Watter dinge is bo op jou “wishlist” vir Safe House?
A: 1. ‘n Nuwe eetkamertafel 2. ‘n Radio/cdspeler en 3. Nog baie vrywilligers wat daar betrokke kan raak!
Lucille says…“Baie dankie vir die geleentheid om n verskil te maak in ons dorp!Dankie vir Safe House – al julle harde werk en goeie ingesteldheid.dis absoluut aansteeklik!Mag die Here julle goeie werk ryklik seen.”
Safe House Stellenbosch is place of safety for women who need to escape domestic violence. If you know of anyone in need, please click here.
To support our cause with a small donation every month, why not become a Friend of Safe House? Click here for more information. Every R1 makes a difference to us.
Too often we see women who give up on their femininity, or start viewing being feminine as a weakness. 9 August was Women’s Day, and this month we, at Safe House Stellenbosch, want to ask all women out there to embrace their God given femininity and realise that being a woman does not make you weak.
What is femininity?
Femininity is depicted in many ways, and if the media is anything to go by, then women misuse their femininity to take advantage of others. They dolly themselves up to be flirtatious and seductive. But this is the world’s idea of being a woman – and there is much more to owning the fact that you are a woman. The strength we are talking about is an inner strength.
Finding strength in your femininity is about embracing your womanhood and allowing yourself to be authentic. It’s about harnessing the things that make you you: your kindness and nurturing nature. Although femininity is also about your softer outside appearance, it’s more about who you are in the inside.
What does the Bible say?
God has made women different purposefully. Physically, they are different, being generally delicate and crafted to bear and nurse children, and they have different emotional needs as well. In the Bible Peter tells husbands to treat their wives in an understanding way because they are different, being women, and men need to understand this (1 Peter 3:7). Women shouldn’t be yelled at, threatened physically, or intimidated by men. They should be treated with sensitivity, care, and respect. Women shouldn’t have to compete with men in terms of “toughness,” for their strength is different. Women are clearly different physically and emotionally in terms of how God has made them and wired them. They need to accept this, and men need to honour this reality.
A woman must guard her heart above all else, and she must be free to be who God made her to be. She is different than man, she is the complement for man, and she has different roles in marriage than the man. True womanhood is doing all that she does, regardless of where she presently is in life, to the honour and glory of God by honouring His Word.
We at Safe House, aim to empower the women who find themselves in our shelter with their God given femininity. We provide opportunities for employment, skills training and counselling.
If you are being abused and need help, please contact us.
If you would like to become involved in our cause, please sign up to be A Friend of the Safe House. We also welcome any donations and volunteers.
Nelson Mandela Day is an internationally recognised day in honour of our very own Madiba. It was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday: 18 July in 2009 by the United Nations. The commemorative day was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made in 2008, for the next generation to become leaders when addressing the world’s social injustices. His famous words were: “it is in your hands now”.
Nelson Mandela must be one of South Africa’s most iconic leaders. He was known for his gentle spirit and magnetic charisma. He followed three rules throughout his life:
1. Free yourself.
2. Free others.
3. Serve every day.
As he proved, these rules come with great personal sacrifice, but also have the power to bring great joy.
Here is a list of our favourite Madiba quotes taken from the website weresoinspired.com.
Mandela Day is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy, it’s is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to be the change that you hope to see. We at Safe House Stellenbosch are honoured to be a part of that legacy by serving our community.
Our residents and staff all did their 67 minutes serving other welfare organisations in the community.
You too can make a difference at Safe House Stellenbosch this in Mandela month by giving your time, or making a donation. Read more about our 67 Drive for July 2016 here.
Madiba spent 67 years making the world a better place. What will you do with your 67 minutes?
18 July is Mandela Day and Safe House Stellenbosch will be pay tribute to Madiba in various 67 increments this month. Please join us in our 2016 Sixty Seven Drive to be the change in the lives of women and children who are victims of domestic violence this July.
Be the change! 3 Acts of Support that will benefit Safe House Stellenbosch in Mandela month.
ONE: Invite 6 or 7 friends to LIKE our Facebook page
That’s easy enough, isn’t it? Simply invite a few friends to like and follow us on Facebook. Why? Because by growing our audience we can educate more people the causes and effects of domestic violence. More people will hear about our safe haven , and reach out for help or offer assistance. Like our FB page here.
TWO: Give 67 minutes of your time
Do you have a skill that you can use to teach or train the unemployed women currently residing at Safe House? Contact us (insert link). Our rehabilitation program is geared at equipping women with the necessary skills for the workplace. We believe that by making them employable they can be independent and free of cycle of abuse.
We also welcome volunteers who want to work with our children. Perhaps you would like to run a craft workshop or a fun activity for our kids? Click here to contact us, we’d love to hear from you.
THREE: Donate R67 – and invite your friends to do the same
Make your donation once-off or pledge this nominal sum every month. Every rand donated goes a long way at Safe House and we rely on the contributions made by our Friends of Safe House. To become a Friend of Safe House, all you have to do is pledge to donate any small sum of money to Safe House on a monthly basis. For example: you can put a stop order on your account for R67 per month. Mandela month is the ideal time to get into the habit of giving and being the change we want to see in South Africa. Want to become a friend of Safe House? Click here.
Nelson Mandela said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”
The idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008. The UN officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s “values and his dedication to the service of humanity”.
Safe House Stellenbosch is a place of safety for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence. We are not just a shelter. We are dedicated to helping the victims of abuse change their lives through healing therapy and necessary training. To find out more about us and what we do, click here.
Image credit: springsadvertiser.co.za