Help upgrade shelter

It is a normal busy day at Ihata Shelter in Hedieveld. Both young and old women are busy with several beneficial activities­.

Walking through the doors, last Thursday, is another mother with her two children, who will now have to embrace the shelter as their new home for the next six months.

The shelter provides a space for women affected by domestic violence and assists with planning their lives through services geared towards empowerment, self-respect, independence and recovery.

But running a shelter like this comes with many challenges, funding being the main issue, explains Joshua Taurijo.

He says despite being funded by certain groups to be able to feed, house and provide the women with beneficial programmes, the shelter is in dire need of upgrades to the premises.

“To provide a service like this, funding is always needed, especially to upgrade the premises in order to accommodate our residents much better, and to ensure our premises are always secured,” explains Taurijo.

“As you can see our shelter walls are made from very thing material, and knowing that we live in a gang-infested community, a bullet could strike a woman or child through these walls at any time. In fact it could go through the entire building in one go.”

Taurijo, who has only been employed at the shelter for a few months now, explains his vision to have beautiful spaces on the shelter premises to warm residents’ hearts.

“The premises can do with a makeover and upgraded equipment is needed to do educational programmes.

“We also have a small classroom with old and broken benches and chairs where we teach all our activities. The room is crowded and does not have much light coming in it,” he explains.

Several groups visit the shelter daily to provide programmes to uplift the previously abused women. About 10 new sewing machines were also recently donated to the shelter to teach residents how to sew.

“These women are provided with various programmes while under our care. Some of the programmes include skills and job readiness workshops. We don’t only house them but also try to a get these women employed by the time they leave our shelter. In fact two of our women have just started new jobs.

“We have about 10 rooms where each family lives. The single women share a room while the mothers with children occupy a full unit. They are brought in after undergoing a screening and stay here for free.

“To the public and local businesses in the area, let’s take hands and see how we help these women and how we can accommodate more women who are going through abuse.

“Instead of doing marches in our streets, assist us in helping to upskill these women and get them jobs in order for them to stand on their own feet.

“Many of them run back to abusive relationships because of no money or homes. Help us give them the skills and jobs they need to become responsible and independent­.”

V For more information, call Ihata Shelter on 021 638 5578.