We recently published an article about some of our major sponsors and supporters, to this ever growing list, we’d like to give a special mention to the Zunia and Melanie, the owners of Avontuur Estate Restaurant, who every month, through a sponsored invitation to their business breakfast networking event, give us the opportunity to meet and connect with more potential sponsors. We thank them for helping us reach even more people in our community.
Here’s a brief interview with them about what their involvement means to them.
Owners Zunia and Melanie of Avontuur Estate Restaurant
Where did you hear about Safe House?
We first heard about the Safe House when manager Lee Rossouw came to one of our Business Breakfasts a few years ago. I had never heard of it before.
Why are you so passionate about supporting them?
Zunia says, ‘I am a staunch Feminist and spokesperson within the LGBT community. The abuse of women and children is often a silent burden that many victims have to endure on their own. The fact that one in three women is abused in South Africa is an alarming statistic, and those stats rely on women speaking up, so we are sure that that number is in fact higher. The stigma of being abused as well as the withholding of finance keeps the victims in a position of powerlessness and silence. I believe in the Biblical verse that says: give a man a fish and you give him a meal, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
[If you are being abused, please read this article.]
If we can get the women back on their feet by giving them skill-sets they become empowered enough to stand on their own feet and there is nothing as rewarding as seeing a person rise up from the ashes.
One of the reasons we sponsor Lee at every Business Breakfast Club is that within every meeting there will be guests that have not heard of the Safe House as well as guests that may be able to provide the ladies at the Safe House with skills such as computer literacy, cooking, sewing or even facilitate in their healing process by providing a safe space to explore their feelings via the making of dream boards etc.’
Safe House Stellenbosch Manager Lee Rossouw (center) networking at one of the breakfasts.
If you had one wish for Safe House, what would it be?
That we did not need them in the first place. But as the need is a real one, my wish would be that their own financial burdens were lessened by assistance form the Government.
I am grateful on a personal level for the support private individuals and companies have given to the Safe House. Without participation the Safe House would not have had so many success stories and would not be able to continue to do the valuable work that they do.
If you would like to become a regular supporter of the Safe House, you can sign up for becoming A Friend of the Safe House here.
To become a volunteer, click here.
Safe House Stellenbosch has been truly blessed with community sponsorships and donations throughout the years. Without the help of the Friends of the Safe House and regular donors, we would never be able to continue our work of looking after the victims of domestic violence.
‘L’Abrie de Dieu’ means God’s shelter. Our doors are open to women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. We not only provide a temporary place of safety for them from their circumstances, but also strive to uplift them with therapy and skills training to enable them to take on the future as a victor and not a victim. You can read more about our skills training and other programs here.
Help from the community
With respect to our donors who would prefer to maintain their anonymity, we would like to say thank you. You know who you are and what you do. We are proud of our association with you and we value the relationship Safe House has built with your organisation.
A special thanks to our loyal contributors
Super Spar Simonsrust, Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Ltd and Checkers Stellenbosch who support our victims with random donations and employment where possible. Employment is one of the victims’ top needs and both retailers have assisted several women to gain very necessary work experience, or by being permanently employed.
NG Kerk Welgelegen who continually enquire about our needs and then try to meet the needs where possible.
Builders Express Stellenbosch who have come to our rescue many times as our local “Handymen” assisting us with fixing and maintaining the house inside and outside.
We are also especially fortunate to be the charity of choice of local sports heroes, Maties Rugby Club and the Varsity Cup with their ”Keep the Aggro on the field” campaign. They have helped us with the following projects, making Safe House more than just a roof over our victims heads, but also a space that encourages peace and healing:
- An awesome tranquillity garden
- Covered our stoep area with a roof to provide extra skills training space
- Established a playground for the children
- Assisted with a partial kitchen upgrade
- And painted our Children’s Play Therapy Room
Maties Rugby Club helps out with a new garden shed.
We also owe a very special mention of our dedicated Board Members who contribute with their time, personal contributions, volunteering and also introducing new friends to become “Friends to the Safe House” by contributing monthly with financial aid.
Would you like to become a Friend of the Safe House by contributing just R100 per month? Click here.
For more information about making a donation, click here.
Volunteers, click here .
Safe House Stellenbosch has recognised the necessity to not only attend to the emotional and physical recovery of the women who seek shelter from abuse behind its doors, but also the children who come with them. For this reason, the Safe House has started using Play Therapy to address the need to counsel the often overlooked victims of domestic violence: the children.
What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is used to counsel children by including games, toys and mediums such as clay, drawings to help a child express their emotions, thoughts, wishes and needs. It helps them to make sense of their feelings and upsetting events that they have not had the chance or the skills to deal with properly. Rather than having to explicitly verbalize what is causing their anxiety, children use play to communicate at their own level and at their own pace, without feeling interrogated or threatened.
What happens during Play Therapy?
During a Play Therapy session children are lead to become aware of what they are feeling and they are given a chance to express these feelings. Awareness is a very important process in play therapy, because without awareness change is not possible. During the therapy session, the child is empowered and supported to learn more about who they are and to talk about things that are frightening or painful.
Blanche, our social worker, opening the dedicated Play Therapy Room at Safe House Stellenobosch.
Our goal at Safe House Stellenbosch
Our goal with incorporating Play Therapy into our programme is to help the children to become better at regulating their emotions and expressing them in constructive ways. We want to equip them to become more assertive, self-confident and to have self-respect and respect for others. Recent studies indicate that more than 70% of children show a positive change in their total difficulties following Play Therapy. And we are seeing the difference it is making with the kids who come to seek shelter from domestic violence with their mothers here at Safe House Stellenbosch.
You can help us continue our work in providing a safe haven for women and children who are victims of abuse and domestic violence, by pledging to become a Friend of the Safe House.
We also welcome any donations of time, money and skills – for more information click here.
Our safe house is place of safety for the women and their children who have no place to go when fleeing domestic violence. We provide them with more than just a roof over their heads, L’Abrie de Dieu – God’s Shelter, is a home above all else.
We are sure many people have wondered what a typical day for a resident of the Safe House looks like. We’d like to share this insight with you so that you can tell others who might find themselves in need of safety from domestic violence.
We treat our house like a home. Not halfway house and certainly not a hotel. We all pitch in, doing chores like cooking and laundry – just like one would in any household. Every mother takes care of her own child / children, but residents often help each other out, in that those that don’t have jobs might take the kids to school for the mothers who do work. We have a roster so that there is an even distribution of chores amongst everyone and so that everyone knows what they are expected to do and when. Our House Mothers Nosi and Lydia, ensure that everything runs like it should.
We also make time every week for special counselling sessions and house meetings. Blanché is our in-house Social Worker who counsels the women through their recovery from abuse one-on-one and in groups. Our Skills Training Facilitator, Charlene teaches the residents relevant skills for future employment which also includes basic computer skills. Charlene also the pivotal person in assisting the women with applying for suitable jobs that match their skillset. Furthermore, various Life Skills are taught such as Parenting Skills, Domestic Skills, sewing and crafts.We believe that a person’s time at the Safe House should be focused on healing and empowerment. That is why we invest so much into counselling and skills development.
Because children often make up a large part of our residency, we have integrated play therapy into our programme and we have made sure that we have a playroom and outdoor play area for the kids too.
After work and over weekends there’s plenty of time for relaxation, so often we have movie nights, play board games or braai. We also celebrate birthdays and other special days. Residents are allowed to have visitors by pre-arrangement.
Safe House Stellenbosch often receives volunteers who visit and donate their time or talents to our residents. We appreciate every one, and it makes a great change of pace of the residents to see new faces and try new things.
Would you like to become involved? Become a friend of the Safe House, click here.
To donate your time or any items, find out more here.
March is the month that awareness around Human Rights plays out. In South Africa, chapter two of the constitution sets out the Bill of Rights which protects an individual’s most fundamental rights.
These rights include:
- Equality – everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
- Human dignity – everyone has inherent dignity and have their dignity respected and protected.
- Freedom of movement and residence – everyone has a right to freedom of movement and to reside anywhere in the country.
- Language and culture – everyone has the right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice.
- Life – everyone has the right to life.
How many of these rights do you think are violated in cases of domestic violence? That’s right, nearly all of them.
If you’ve ever been in an abusive relationship, you’ll understand that you start feeling powerless and without rights. You are not treated as an equal. Your dignity is constantly undermined. Where you go and what you do or who you see is monitored and restricted. And in the worst cases, it can cost you your life (figuratively and literally). Feeling unworthy of even the most basic rights and freedoms is a dangerous place to be, and can cripple your recovery after leaving an abusive environment.
If you lose your sense of self-esteem you don’t feel like you are entitled to happiness, freedom, equality and your dignity – and if that is where you find yourself, you need to take actions to build yourself up again. Remember: that unless you are strong and confident, you won’t be able to help yourself and your children out of the abusive situation.
Here are some practical actions you can take to build up your sense of worth and self-esteem.
- Praise yourself when you do something well or if you do something that you were afraid to do. Every victory counts, so celebrate it.
- Choose to see the good in others rather than their shortcomings. Giving someone credit builds positivity and boosts a positive attitude.
- Do something new or challenge yourself. Learning new skills helps grow self-confidence.
- Join a group. Becoming part of the community or a church will increase your support network and make you feel good about yourself.
- Have realistic expectations of yourself. Take one day at a time.
- Assess the way you think. Stop an all or nothing outlook on life; remember that not everything is black or white, leave room for a middle ground.
- Be your own kindest friend. Stop criticising yourself. Speak to yourself with kindness.
- Make to-do list and DO it. Putting off doing the things that need to be done will break your confidence.
- Live in the NOW. When you find yourself worrying about the future, remember that you have control over the present and that’s what matters. Think of something to do: visit a friend, play with your kids or go for a walk.
Safe House Stellenbosch is a safe haven for the victims of domestic violence as well as their children. Our programme includes building up the women’s self-esteem through Counselling and Skills Training. To support our on-going work, please become a Friend of the Safe House.
For information about how to donate, click here.
Often when we think about love, our minds go straight to the people who are precious to us like our children, siblings and life partners, rarely do we put ourselves on the list of people we love. But we should. It’s not conceited to actively love yourself because the truth is, our capacity to love others will always be limited if we do not love ourselves first.
So, what does it mean to love yourself?
Loving yourself means accepting yourself – exactly as you are. That means: not the person you aspire to be, but the person you really are: the good and the bad bits. Everyone has negative traits, but it’s how you think about yourself that really shows if you love yourself. Are you constantly putting yourself down and judging yourself inwardly and coming up short? Or is your inner voice kind enough to let you off the hook sometimes, even when your actions are not perfect?
Remember: no one is perfect. In order for you to appreciate yourself it’s up to you to discover what makes you unique and develop those talents. When you start identifying your talents, you’ll soon start seeing yourself in a positive light. This is one of first vital steps in learning to love yourself.
Loving yourself means investing time, energy and sometimes money in yourself and working on your personal growth and development.
When you love and respect yourself, there’s no question about doing what you need to in order to take care of yourself: physically, mentally and emotionally.
- Your body: Take care of your body by eating well, exercising and getting enough rest.
- Your mind: Stimulate your mind by learning new skills, reading or doing crafts.
- Your spirit: Taking care of your spirit will make you feel refreshed on a daily basis. Spend time praying and staying connected to God.
Remember: loving yourself is not a selfish action, it means that you respect yourself and that you are making yourself more equipped to love others.
Part of our programme here at Safe House Stellenbosch is on-going sessions with our Social Worker who helps the women in building their self-esteem. In conjunction with that, our resident Skills Trainer works with the residents on a daily basis by helping them identify new talents and developing existing ones.
If you would like to support the work we do, please consider becoming A Friend of the Safe House – click here for more details.
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You might also be interested in one of our other recent articles: Is it Real or Destructive Love?