The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre received a boost after the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure donated tables, chairs, couches, bookshelves, TV stands and curtains to it last Saturday.
The department had told the Khayelitsha centre to send a wish list of things it needed.
Centre manager Nozuko Conjwa said the donation meant a lot as it was the first time a government department had donated something to the centre. Other departments had also told the centre to send wish lists but nothing had materialised, she said.
The centre started in 1997 as a two-room consulting practice run by community volunteers in response to rampant child abuse.
Being able to respond quickly and appropriately was key to helping abuse victims heal, and the centre was born out of that need, Ms Conjwa said.
The centre has a therapeutic counselling suite, a play therapy room, training facilities, a children’s safe house and a shelter for abused women.
“We appreciate every effort and support because in order for the centre to keep its doors open it’s solely based on funding support. We are planning to give some old curtains to these women who had been staying here with us so that when they finally leave they could have something for their homes,” Ms Conjwa said.
“We would not have received those from anywhere else so we are grateful for the contribution. We have people who have different needs, and when such donations occur it brings light at the end of the tunnel for us.”
She said funding remained a challenge for the centre, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
Ms Conjwa said protecting women and children from abuse was everyone’s responsibility.
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patrica de Lille said the department had decided to clear out its warehouses and donate furniture to community organisations that needed it as part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.
The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre, and organisations like it, played a vital role in the community and needed to be supported, she said, adding that many victims of violence stayed in abusive relationships because they had nowhere to go.
By offering shelter to abused women and children, the centre was helping them on the path to healing, she said.
“We must come in as the community to help,” said Ms De Lille, adding that the staff who worked at the centre also needed support to help them process the trauma they regularly confronted.
“I believe that they need a debriefing and counselling from time to time so that they can deal with pain that they experience with the people,” she said.
Ms De Lille said she was thinking of helping the centre to establish a food garden.