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What does a social worker do?

Posted in Articles, Success Stories

Becoming a social worker means that you have a passion for people and wanting to help them. Social workers are there to make a difference in the lives of individuals, families and entire communities.

The role of a social worker is to assist and protect those in need and affected by a crises. They may get involved in cases that have:

  • Any form of abuse: children, women, the elderly
  • All cases of rape
  • Communities, who lack basic medical care, access to a clean water supply and proper schooling. Other Social workers assess needs on a larger scale. They may plan and administer programs and projects in the communities
  • Community social workers help communities This social worker in the community work directly with individuals and the family system as a howl. By conducting a needs assessments and making referrals to resources in the community.

That is where the Safe House comes in, by getting referrals from the community, extended programs, schools act, the Social Worker at the Safe House looks at the criteria of the safe house and if the client fits the criteria.

The social worker at the Safe House then helps to assist with, counselling on individual level, counselling and networking with family members and other interested parties when necessary. Counsel abused women from the community who are not ready to enter the Safe House. Group work in the day and/or evenings for women in the house.

Social workers can provide services in general to help people cope with different problems that occur in everyday circumstances. Then you get social workers with a special skill set and qualification that can also help to diagnose and treat various mental issues that might occur. The job does require that you live in the area or community you are helping or you should be able to travel to the community on a daily basis.

 Social workers safe house stellenbosch

There are many career paths to choose for a social worker

  • Social workers that focus on children, family and schools
  • Medical social workers: dealing with individuals and families with health issues.
  • Substance abuse and mental health
  • Correctional services
  • Therapeutic social workers.
  • Industrial social workers, working more on a business level, with fabrics, companies, educations and counseling in the work place.
  • Statuary social workers- working with foster care, the family as a howl, courts act.

 

To help the community, certain techniques and programmes can be implemented. These techniques can help build the community and help them to develop their own potential and abilities.

 

Techniques such as:

  • Helping the community with development programmes
  • By starting crisis intervention plans
  • Implementing youth programmes
  • Offering counselling and support for abused women through shelter programmes

 

By being a Social Worker in a Safe House environment, you have to do the following;

  • Individual, family and group work counselling
  • The administration of reports, statistics, clients documents, Safe House documents act.
  • To help monitor medical appointments, emergencies and helping to monitor pregnant girls in labor.
  • Statistics and report writing to Social Development
  • Help to plan programs, community projects act.
  • Help to assist women with protection orders and other legal issues, when necessary.
  • To see that all residents needs are met and rights are respected
  • To see that all residents CV’s are updated, help to look for trainings and education opportunity’s as well as job opportunities.
  • Networking with, other projects, organizations in the area.

Carla Senekal, our Safe House Social worker.

Challenges faced by a social worker

Being in this line of work is not easy and there are many difficulties that a social worker will face. There are many “fires” that need to be extinguished. Social workers are so busy putting out fires that they can’t really focus on the root of the problem.

 

  • They have to deal with the crises first hand
  • It is a high stress job that can affect health
  • Social workers have to deal with a range of different communities; this can lead to dealing with language barriers, violence and even in some cases death threats.
  • It can be difficult to sometimes provide services due to limited resources, limited finances and facilities in which to do their work.

 

There may be trials and challenges but the benefits and results outweigh any of the difficulties that may occur. It is all about making a difference in somebody’s life

You can read an interview with our resident social worker, Carla, here.

How does confidentiality work?

In the Safe House we take confidentiality seriously. We consider Confidentiality is the most important for the therapeutic relationship with the client. It helps the client understand that everything she will say will not be exposed.  Through the sharing of information, that the client feels safe, and the social worker can help the client address an issue, concern, or problem the client may be experiencing. As a Social Worker in the Safe House, confidentiality and the explanation around it, is handled in the very first session with our clients. The Social Worker does not only talk about confidentiality verbally, but signs off on it with a legally binding contract.

 

In the Safe House we address three main confidential points

  • The Social Worker X and Client Y will agree that everything they share and discuss during counselling will stay confidential.
  • That Social Worker X will not disclose anything personal that Client Y trusts her with, except if what the client reveals could possibly be harmful to herself or someone else, or, if sharing what the client has revealed with a professional will help me help the client to the best of my ability.
  • Client Y will not disclose anything personal that Social Worker X trusts her with, except if Client Y feel it will negatively affect others or herself, and only then will she disclose it to a staff member or professional.

 

Skills needed to be a social worker

Being a social worker is a demanding job and requires certain emotional and professional skills. A social worker, even after graduating will always be learning new things and skills. You are never too old to learn new skills, and with the help of a Supervisor, some that guides you in the way forward, training and a lot of research and reading your Children’s Act and Bill of Rights, you will have a guideline, to tackle situations in the right and ethical way.

 

Here are a few qualities that you should have to be a good social worker:

 

  • You must be a good listener, a lot of the time as a social worker you need to listen to people.
  • Have a level of emotional intelligence; this includes empathy and sensitivity towards other people and their circumstances.
  • A certain amount of organizational skills are required
  • Being tolerant, dealing with different cultures and people. Having respect for everybody.
  • Able to communicate effectively
  • You have to be able to set boundaries and create a healthy work and life balance

 

 

Social workers: ‘We are not in it for the income; we are in it for the outcome’

– Social Justice Solutions

 

 

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In case you couldn’t make it to our AGM…

Posted in Articles

 

Our annual Safe House AGM was held on 28 September at the NG Wes Church in Stellenbosch. We are thankful that we had quorum for the meeting with more than 25 people in attendance. It was lovely to see our board members, donors, sponsors, staff, volunteers and even some residents in attendance.

Although the meeting prescriptive, this year we wanted to not only present facts, statistics and figures, we also wanted to give our audience some real insight into the day to day happenings at the Safe House. One of our talented residents, “Nita” performed humorous snippets of life in the Safe House, which was applauded by our audience.

 

Reflections

This year we also took a few minutes to look back at how far L’Abrie de Dieu has come since its inception. Various successful campaigns over the years and an ex- resident who is now employed in the Safe House as a House Mother are memorable highlights that remind us about the impact of the work we are doing in the community at large.

Our therapy cat

 

Quality Assurance Audit Results

We are very proud of the fact that our organisation scored 95% in the Quality Assurance Audit done by the Department of Social Development this year. Even though we’ve had a trying year housing 60 victims while losing support staff, we managed to prove that we are not only on the right track with how we run things, but that we are also an example to other shelters. We believe that the thing that drives us to success is the fact that we are always looking for new better ways to serve the victims who find themselves on our doorstep.

We are also pleased to report that our building project reached fruition this year. We got a big financial injection from the National Lotteries Board who donated R500 000 to see the building project through.  We now have 5 extra bedrooms and 2 new bathrooms, with a beautiful Skills Training Facility to better accommodate and empower the growing number of women and children who need a safe haven and upliftment from their domestic violence ordeal.

 

Financials

Our auditor Dennis from Exceed who is also volunteer, explained in person the various expense allocations that the Safe House has and reported that Safe House is financially sound.

We would like to thank each and every person who thought of us and the work we do and opened their hearts and wallets to assist us. Without you, our work would be impossible.

 

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Qualities of a good volunteer – we all have something to offer

Posted in Articles

While you think you may have nothing of value to offer, we at Safe House have learned over the years, that every volunteer, by just making themselves available, makes a huge difference in the lives of women and children who find themselves under our roof.

You could spend time with the women just chatting to them, talking about books, praying with them, teaching them how to budget, doing crafts, sewing, knitting, or even teaching them to cook! Other workplace skills, such as computer literacy, interviewing, CV writing and so on are also much needed.

Here’s an outline of some the qualities that we look for in our volunteers.

Enthusiasm

Being energetic and having a positive attitude can help to motivate yourself and others. Enthusiasm for the cause can also help to nudge others to take action. Being aware of others and treating everybody with respect is important. Helping to support all members of the group can only bring about successful results faster. Enthusiastic people always tend to stir those around them to positive action.

 Flexibility

There are various positions that need filling at a moment’s notice. So volunteering can be a different experience every day, because of the varying needs at any given time. One day you could be packing boxes and the next day driving a lady to court. This type of work requires many skills and a volunteer needs to be prepared to grow and learn from the experience. Gaining a variety of skill sets can be a valuable add on to any resume.

Reliability

You should be able to follow through on your commitment. All charity organisations rely on their volunteers to be successful. Beneficiaries of the organisation – in our case the women and children are looking forward to the volunteers visit. A volunteer should be able to be on time and do their work so that they can produce the best results for the organisation. Punctuality is also a very important thing to learn and can be applied in all life circumstances, it shows your respect for others. Obviously life does happen and things get in the way, but honesty should then be the first policy.

Creative and passionate

Creativity and being passionate about an issue will bring a bit of fun and excitement into the environment. Volunteering can sometimes be stressful and it can be exhausting, creativity just adds that extra spark when needed. Sometimes doing the same thing day in and day out can get a bit boring. Adding some creative flare can brighten things up a bit. We found that a little creativity sparks a wonderful letting out of emotions through art.

Integrity

Work hard and be honest with everybody. You should be able to take responsibility for your work, especially if you did something incorrectly. Know your limits and ask for help when you need it. Volunteering has served as a job referral already for many who have assisted us in the past.

Teamwork

Volunteering involves many workers who are trying to reach the same goals you are. A volunteer should be able to work well in a team. You should be able to follow orders without complaining. If you show initiative you might also be able to grow your leadership skills.

Communication

A volunteer should be able to listen and communicate well. Being able to talk to your fellow co-workers and listen to them attentively can only make things go more smoothly and successfully without misunderstandings.  It is important to also be able to handle constructive criticism where something needs to be improved.

Good organisational skills

Since there is usually so much work to do, it is great to possess some good organisational skills. Tasks just become easier to complete and more manageable. Everybody is not running around and doing their own thing. Working together as a cohesive team will get the job done.

 

Do you still think you’ve got what it takes to be a good Safe House volunteer? Contact us and experience what’s it’s like to make a real difference in someone’s life.

 

 

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CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! FUN-draising for Safe House

Posted in Articles

Here’s how you can fundraise for Safe House

Many people know how trying to raise funds for a charity can be overwhelming and difficult. Trying to make the individual or supporter a fundraiser could be challenging. We as supporters and individuals can do our bit to help out and bring in needed funds and exposure. Fundraising is also best done with help from friends, family and your community to be successful. Here are some great ideas that you can try.

For those who love sport

Entering an event like walking, running or cycling can be great fun. Many of these events support a charity and your joining fee goes towards a charity organisation. Why not make more of a contribution by setting up Facebook page with a donate button and ask for donations from friends and family. Or invite your friend to also like our Facebook page and use our donate button. A fun golfing competition amongst colleagues and friends can also be great way to raise funds. Some people take a step further by creating a challenge like climbing Kilimanjaro to raise funds. Maybe you don’t have to climb a mountain, but think of something you have been wanting to achieve that you can use as a means to raise funds.

Hosting a cook off

Get your friends, family and community together and have a friendly cook off. I think a braai event will go over nicely to most South African’s. You can sell meal tickets or even ask for a competitor fee to raise more funds.

Dinner night

Invite your family and friends over for dinner. Tell them it is in aid of your chosen charity, Safe House and ask for a donation. Make it even more fun by organising a themed dinner party.

Create your own recipe book

Talking about food, many people have recipes they would like to share. Why not make up a recipe book, use your own recipes and ask your friends for some too. Put it together and sell the recipe book to raise funds.

Clean up and pay up

Get the community together for a clean-up. This would be a good online initiative, where every item you pick up or for every bag you fill somebody can donate something. You’re not only raising funds, but improving the environment too.

Have a kid’s sports day

Parents can get together and host a kid’s sports day. Simple events such as a sack race can be done. Sell tickets to everybody who would like to come. This takes a bit more planning, but is a great family idea. Many parents want to make their children aware that there are children in need of support and care, this could be used as a wonderful opportunity to educate them whilst having fun.

Office contest

Do you work in an office? A very simple way to collect some money is to place a container in the office, where everybody can put their change. At the end of the year you should have collected enough money to gift your charity. A good way to get more money is to make it a R5 jar, not just any small change.

Games Night

Bingo, card games, board games and any other game you can think of. Invite family and friends over for some fun and make sure they know it is for a good cause.

Used Book Sale

Many of us have some old books on the shelf. Get your family and friends to also give you their books and sell them to raise some funds.

Online Fundraiser

Most have heard about, ‘the ice bucket challenge’.  Give this a try yourself by asking your family or colleagues at work to perform a silly challenge and to post it online. Share with everybody and especially on our page and ask other to do the same challenge. Accepting the challenge the person will donate a fee to your cause. Hopefully it will go viral, bringing in lots of donations.

Create and sell crafts

Are you the creative type? Do you make, clothes, soaps, candles or anything else? Use this talent to sell your goods to make money and donate some of the profit.

Offering your service

Offer your service to the community for a donation. Take an example, if you are a beauty therapist, offer mini-manicures for a donation. Or give a percentage of your income to every month to your charity.

 

Safe House has ‘Friends of Safe House’ for this very reason and it’s a huge help to our cash flow.

We also have opportunities for Volunteers and a need for Donations, so please do reach out if you want to get involved in a worthy cause.

 

Bake or Yard sale

This is a common way to raise funds. People are always eager to donate in exchange for a piece of fudge or yummy cake.

Hold a contest

Get fundraisers to hold a contest among themselves to see who can raise the most amount of money. The organisation or charity can provide a small reward to the winner.

 

These are only a few ideas and remember, it is important to use social networking to get even more people involved. Please assist us to raise awareness and invite your friends to like our Facebook page.

 

As a charity organisation, we at Safe House hope you will be inspired to use some of these fun ways to raise money for our benefit, a little goes a long way so please never undervalue your contribution.

 

Do you know of any great ideas to raise money? Please let us know!

 

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Meet our Board Members

Posted in Articles

Safe House, like all registered NPO’s, has a board of individuals who help make decisions about its day to day running and future. This is not an easy task, but our Board Members really but the ‘COMMIT’ back into ‘COMMITTEE’ and we are grateful for their continued support. This post is dedicated to them, who most often work behind the scenes, but without whose contribution, the success of Safe House would not be possible.

Meet some these special angels put on earth to help those in need.

 

Adri Muller joined the board in September 2016 as treasurer, but was already been a volunteer as Safe House, using the skills from her job as a financial wizard to teach the women at Safe House how to budget.

What has your involvement with SH taught you about yourself?

We have so many things to be thankful for!

 If you could grant SH one wish, what would it be?

Enough funding so that the Safe House can focus on helping those women and children in need and not have to show any victim of abuse away.

 

 

Liezel van Beek has been on the Safe House board for eight years already. She is the Secretary and is also part of the Financial committee.

What has your involvement with SH taught you about yourself?

When I started off as a volunteer at the Safe House it was with the intention of getting involved and giving something back to the community. Very soon however I realised that the Safe House is giving me much more in return. Give and you shall receive, as they saying goes.

What message would you like to give to the broader public about SH?

If you are looking for an organisation where you can contribute your money or time and know that it will be well spent, look no further. Safe House Stellenbosch is in the business of changing and saving lives, not only of the women and children in their care, but also of each individual that comes in to take part in this process. There is much need and much work to be done and there are many ways in which you can contribute. Every little bit helps. You can start by arranging a visit – you’ll be surprised at how quickly you will feel at home.

If you could grant SH one wish, what would it be?

I would love to see the Safe House receiving enough financial support so that it can expand its services to accommodate all the requests for residency received on a monthly basis. It is heartbreaking to think how many women and children have to be turned away because there aren’t enough resources to take in more residents. And with the shocking statistics of violence against women and children in our country it is not difficult to think what kind of circumstances those victims are trapped in without the help of organisations like Safe House Stellenbosch.

 

 

Carin Nel has been part of the founding members since 2003, when her prayer group started praying for a place of safety for women and children trapped in domestic violence. She officially joined the Safe House board since the inception of the NPO in 2006.

What’s the most challenging part of being part of the organisation?

The fact that we are working with broken people who needs restoration and that the system don’t allow us enough time and freedom to always do what we think is best for each resident. Also when a resident chooses out of weakness and hurt to leave the Safe House before she is ready to fend for herself out there in the community. It breaks my heart to know that person will not make it on her own humanly speaking. Also when the children cannot go to school or kindergarten because of the short time spent at the Safe House.

What’s the most challenging part of being part of the organisation?

The fact that we are working with broken people who needs restoration and that the system don’t allow us enough time and freedom to always do what we think is best for each resident. Also when a resident chooses out of weakness and hurt to leave the Safe House before she is ready to fend for herself out there in the community. It breaks my heart to know that person will not make it on her own humanly speaking. Also when the children cannot go to school or kindergarten because of the short time spent at the Safe House.

 

Gordon Reid is the Chairman and has been part of Safe House since 2009. He decided to dedicate some of time now in his retirement years to volunteer. He is a man passionate about the community and volunteering.

What’s the most challenging part of being part of the organisation?  

It is very difficult to do fundraising….it often feels like it is always the same people stepping up to assist. Then also the fact that abuse is real but have little public support.

What has your involvement with Safe House taught you about yourself?

The Safe House needs the support of the community.

 

 

Would you like to get involved in Safe House? We are always looking for volunteers and donations.

You can also support us on a monthly basis by giving just R100 per month – here’s how you become a Friend of the Safe House.

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Why we need more men helping to fight abuse

Posted in Articles

We are not born knowing what hate and discrimination is. The behaviour is something we learn. Our parents, the movies we watch, music we listen to and the environment we live in, all play a role.

 

“Your input becomes your output”

 

Most abusers have gained experience from being abused by their parents or witnessing an act of abuse on somebody else. Growing up, this type of behaviour is then seen as something normal and the emotional scars are carried with them for the rest of their lives. Eventually this affects their own personal relationships. Instead of being abused they become the abuser, giving them a sense of power and a feeling of control.

 

Similar behaviour can be seen in public, where a perpetrator zero’s in on somebody they see as being vulnerable.  They target a woman or an elderly person and see it as an opportunity to take advantage of them.

 

This story happened not so long ago in Cape Town and depicts exactly what happens in our society.  How women, children and the elderly are seen as weak and therefore an easy target for many types of crimes, including abuse and violence. Read more here.

 

Besides the person actually committing the crime, why do other men or bystanders stand and do nothing?

 

Fear is a big factor, but I think in today’s society we have lost our sense of community. You don’t know that person who needs help, why should you offer assistance. Many times it is the the institutions and authorities who fail at protecting the victim. Nothing gets done or everybody looks the other way because the person responsible for the abuse is a prominent figure in society.

 

Another scenario, married women look to their husbands for protection, but many women suffer abuse and humiliation from their spouses. A good example is, Bafana Bafana striker Marks Maponyane. He was found guilty of assaulting his wife. Just like normal public (Jan Publiek in Afrikaans) any public figure who transgress and are found guilty of violence and abuse should be held accountable and suffer the full extent of the law.

 

Men should seek help and avoid crimes of violence towards women. Read more to see what else the SA Civic Organization or SANCO had to say about this issue.

 

Issues about violence and abuse are on the rise every day you watch or read the news.

 

The internet and social media have also become a place where people feel they can say whatever they want, because of many who don’t raise their voices. Many times on social media and other platforms there are no consequences to their actions. Cyber VAW (Violence Against Women) is a real problem in our society today. Organisations for Women’s Rights needs the communities to stand together and form campaigns to get networks and governments to take this issue seriously.

 

Why do we need more men fighting abuse? The more men who stand together and get involved against abuse, the more the light is shined on the problem. Bringing a conscious awareness to the issue can be the beginning of moving towards ending the cycle of abuse.

 

The best method to break the cycle of abuse is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Get the issue of abuse at its roots, at home and with the youth. Men and parents together, teaching their son’s how to properly treat women and show respect to all people. Bring awareness to the situation, getting everybody to acknowledge that any form of abuse is not okay. Early education is important in helping young boys and girls develop healthy relationships. Awareness about the issue should start at home and extend into the community, through media and other forms to develop an effective prevention programme.

#PaintShowTell

Men can become involved in the community by supporting drives such as Safe House’s Painted Nail Campaign. The campaign involves 16 Days of awareness that focuses on gender based violence and abuse. This is held each year from the 25 November to the 10 December. Men paint a single nail as a conversation starter to show support of the cause. In Australia men and boys actually take an oath to never remain silent about violence against women and children.

 

Try to teach boys not to be involved in promoting sexist behaviour by objectifying or stereotyping women. We need men who are seen as leaders of the community to stand up and break the silence. The answer is to take action and not to not let abuse be ignored and allowed to continue.

 

Safe House is a place of safety for women who are fleeing domestic violence. As a registered NPO, we look to the public for financial support. Please consider becoming a Friend of Safe House and commit to donating just R100 per month to help us further our work.

Keen to volunteer? Click here.

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