In an attempt to tackle gender-based violence, Retreat NGO, Shelter of Hope, held a workshop which also dealt with anger issues, behavioural patterns, equality in relationships, communication and sex and sexuality.
The workshop was much needed by those who seek refuge at the shelter and was facilitated by NGO Mosaic, which focuses on issues relating to gender-based violence.
“We needed this workshop a long time ago. A lot of people come to the Shelter of Hope with issues of domestic violence within their families and their communities,” said Shelter of Hope founder, Theresa Jones.
“A lot of people have anger inside of them and can’t get rid of it. Some aren’t able to cope with situations because they are still traumatised. That’s why we de-cided to have this workshop, to help heal their wounds,” she said.
Over the years, Shelter of Hope has helped educate people on the social issues which they face in their communities.
Their members also facilitate courses in HIV awareness.
“What these ladies have learned from this workshop, they are going to implement in our communities,” said Ms Jones.
One woman, who did not want to be named, said she felt empowered by the training.
“I am able to handle situations better and I believe I have more willpower,” she said.
Shelter of Hope has become a beacon of hope for the destitute in the area for the past eight years. Their main mission is to empower and instil hope in the community.
The organisation was first established to help abused senior citizens and women in Retreat and other communities such as Lavender Hill and Seawinds.
“I used to take them to the pastors or the imams to help them with their spiritual health. I would also take them to the police station to lay charges,” said Ms Jones.
“If we cannot help the people at the Shelter of Hope, we try to help people by giving them referrals,” she said.
Shelter of Hope volunteer Sharalin Davids said she wants to make a difference in people’s lives.
“To help someone and inspire people by changing their lives is why I am involved in this organisation.”
She has also been involved in helping Pollsmoor prisoners come to terms with their anger issues and abuse they have experienced.
The organisation has been struggling financially and relies heavily on donations from concerned community members. They were only able to get registered five years ago due to their financial situation.
One of Shelter of Hope’s initiatives involves helping families who have lost their homes to fires. They cannot help financially but the NGO liaises with the councillor and the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management so that they can get help.
Every Thursday they run a soup kitchen for homeless people. However, due to a lack of funding, members have to sometimes pay for this from their own pockets. “Sometimes it’s tough because we don’t have a lot of funding, but we do it out of the goodness of our hearts,” said Ms Jones.
Shelter of Hope hopes to expand in the near future by finding a permanent location for the organisation.
Ms Jones and her daughter, Donna Bailey, plan to open an aftercare to help keep children safe and out of danger.
For the past few years, the NGO has also been running a holiday programme. ‘We want to get children away from the troubles they experience at home,” said Ms Jones.
The NGO also offers programmes and counselling to children who have experienced abuse. “We want a better life and better opportunities for these children. We hope to inspire, empower and change people’s lives,” Ms Jones said. For more information about Shelter of Hope, contact Theresa Jones on 063 626 1784 or 079 381 6948.