Philisa Abafazi Bethu opens family centre

Uthando South Africa donated a new table tennis board for the centre.

NPO Philisa Abafazi Bethu will reach another milestone this week when the doors to their family centre officially open.

Founder and director, Lucinda Evans, said it has been 10 years in the making and the organisation has grown from working from her dining room table at her home in Lavender Hill, to a wendy house in her backyard, rented premises in Grassy Park at the old Cape Flats Development Association and then at Lavender Hill High School to their current property in Sullivan Park, Strauss Avenue, in Steenberg.

The organisation has several projects, including after school programmes, a seniors’ club, arts and crafts, a women’s support group and feeding schemes.

The launch of the family centre coincides with the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, from Wednesday November 25 to Thursday December 10.

Refurbished and repurposed containers have been used to set up the support centre, which will include an admin office, a safe-space, meeting rooms, a multi-purpose hall for community activities such as seniors’ gym and dance classes, a school after-care programme and neighbourhood watch and ER facilities.

The expansion of their services will focus a lot more on men and boys.

“That will be part of the next three years of a legacy programme to roll out skills and development for men and boys. I never thought we would change our narrative in terms of direct services but we recognise that there is such a gap in services for men and boys and therefore we are putting our hands up and putting our own money where our mouths are and opening services to them.”

The organisation is also in the process of opening an emergency safe house for the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and plus community) community and survivors of abuse.

The safe house is set to open its doors in Kirstenbosch, offering emergency refuge and care for up to 72 hours to people from gender and sexual minority groups who have been physically or sexualy abused – there are also two other safe houses in Wynberg and Steenberg.

The three donors involved in the Strauss Avenue project are CocaCola Peninsula Beverages, the World Childhood Foundation and the Rotary Club of Newlands.

The community open day will take place on Monday November 30, from noon until 2pm to register for services at the Sullivan Park base.

Part ofthe team who assistedin setting up the newfamily centre of NPOPhilisa Abafazi Bethuin Strauss Avenue,Steenberg.