“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt 25:35)
Temporary residential shelter – ensuring that their basic and specific needs are met, which include access to health care, psycho-social support, emotional healing and empowerment. Ongoing monitoring and reviewing of individual cases and strategic exit planning. The promotion of social cultural diversity and social cohesion.
The staff team at the Shelter work in such a manner that women and children are welcomed without reservation, with their stories, their emotional situations and their traumas. Their potential and their abilities are treated with immense respect and confidentiality. We instill trust and confidence in their capacity and dignity to enable the welcomed women and their children to restart their new lives, transforming adversity and obstacles into a base of support to rebuild their lives into a new and welcoming community.
Residents of the shelter are taken to or directed to the nearest health facility for consultation when they are unwell. Transportation is paid for by the Shelter. Medications, if not available at the public facility, which is quite frequent, are covered by Bienvenu Shelter. In emergencies, an ambulance is called to take them to the hospital. Residents who have long term health needs are referred to other organisations where they receive the care and attention required by qualified health care staff.
We support residents to regularise themselves in obtaining Asylum through Home Affairs as well as obtaining birth certificates if and when required. Support is also provided in obtaining medical or social benefits; family reunification applications; housing issues; Bienvenu Shelter regularly refers clients to and receives support from Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) Pro bono Lawyers, CDH Attorneys and Wits Law Clinic for all matters in this regard.
In house reflection groups are held weekly around the shelters value systems. One to one support with residents to discuss their cases. We work closely with professional psychologists and referrals are made for counselling and psychiatry when needed. Children who have undergone trauma are referred to play therapy services and speech and occupational therapy if there is a need.
Residents residing at the shelter is their home for the duration of their stay. Women are taught many things with regards to taking care of their home and having domestic responsibilities eg cleaning, making their beds, assisting in the kitchen, bonding and nurturing their children and understanding how to be economically responsible with their resources.
We encourage all residents and ex-residents to learn skills through training in order for them to sustain themselves in having their own small businesses. These learning tools provided, hold the beginning of a new chapter that enables the women to grow and build further, giving them their own independence and self-worth. The Bienvenu Shelter prepares the women whilst they are staying at the shelter to budget, understand the value of money and save their earnings so that when they do leave, they have something to start with.