“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt 25:35)

Bienvenu Shelter


Bienvenu Shelter has many testimonies that witness to all those who have, and continue to walk and be a part of this journey, especially the neediest woman coming from many different African countries, that it is possible to re-start with the support received to which they are very grateful for and to have the space in which they are able to restore their lives and dream again.

(Names have been changed to protect the individual, and for the purpose of confidentiality)


Dear Bienvenu Shelter Team

Please accept my few words of appreciation.

I wish to thank each and everyone of you for your patience and profound support towards my son and I

At a time when I thought it was our end, God, through my childhood friend, put or brought Bienvenu Shelter to our aid

We shall be forever grateful because this help could only come from Gods children

I was empowered by all the training and counselling I got from the House and the Training Centre

I am thankful to the Sisters as they were patient enough to listen to me the first time I called them

I am thankful for the medical and physical and spiritual support my son and I received from the Bienvenu Family

There are days I was very low, I felt like I had to give up but I remembered the Sisters are always there for us

My son was sick when we got to this House but I remember how the Bienvenu Staff members fought for him to gain good health. All these good memories gave me courage to continue fighting and moving ahead

Deep down in my heart I know I will surely get my sons original documents one day

The woman I am today is not the same cry-baby who walked into the Shelter in February 2022

God, through Bienvenu, showed me the light. I learnt a hand-work that is paying me today, I am so grateful. I am a Nail Technician and the money I am earning is the money no-one could ever give me for free. I am determined to win. I will continue pushing hard until I see the results I want

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” – Matthew 25 : 35

A lot of things I have in mind but I can’t put them all in writing but God knows how grateful I am towards you all

I am building a website, I wish to start an on-line business because it will not interrupt my job or working hours. In a few years I would become my own boss, by the Grace of God. Next year I would create time to learn Make-up, just to complete my package

I am grateful to the Teachers for their patience with my son. He loves them too much

We love the Staff of Bienvenu Shelter, they are our family members

I feel happy because we have a family who loves us

Only God knows why he brought us here

I am happy because I no longer cry because I realise crying is a waste of time

I am happy because I found a job and my boss has been good to me

I am happy that Bienvenu Shelter built a strong woman within me

My journey continues

I am grateful for everything, the love, the care, the prayers. My son and I say Thank You

Bienvenu Shelter will be forever a part of us. Being an only child and having one child, God Blessed me with a large family who is Bienvenu Shelter

We are leaving the House just so others should have the opportunity we had

My son will continue with his Teachers – the future holds good things for us all

We love you, we love you all

Let God watch over you all and multiply your Blessings.




Good morning esteemed faculty and proud Students, soon to be graduates!

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the day to come” (Proverbs 31 : 25) This verse beautifully encapsulates the essence of empowering women, encouraging them to embrace their inner strength, dignity and resilience.

This verse came into my mind when thinking of what would describe the Scalabrinian Sisters, for, through their various programs such as the beginner Baking Course, you provide crucial assistance to migrants, refugees and various women seeking a better life. Therefore, I would like to take a moment to express my sincerest gratitude for your incredible work and dedication in serving marginalized and vulnerable populations. Your efforts go beyond the provision of shelter and food and clothing. You also offer guidance and empowerment, allowing individuals to rebuild their lives and find a sense of belonging.

To Mother Assunta Training Centre, Thank you for embodying the values of compassion, solidarity and love. Your work serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a more just and equitable society of women. The lives you touch are forever transformed and we are grateful for your unwavering dedication.

To the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees Team (Archdiocese of Johannesburg), your efforts to empower women not only aligns with the Catholic Faith but also serves as a shining example of love and compassion. Allow us to express our sincere gratitude for the incredible work your organisation has been doing to empower women. Your commitment to uplifting, sponsoring women’s development in the world is truly admirable. By supporting, providing resources and opportunities to women, you are enabling us to realise our full potential and become catalysts for positive change in our communities.

To the Staff, we extend our deepest gratitude, firstly for treating us with kindness and warmth, welcoming us into this beautiful centre with open arms and treating us like family.

To the most wonderful teacher ever, we extend our deepest gratitude. Your expertise, guidance and unwavering belief in our potential has truly shaped us into the bakers we are today. We owe our success to your knowledge, support and constant encouragement.

And, finally to my fellow graduates, Congratulations! When we first embarked on this path, we merely thought it was about learning recipes and mastering techniques. Little did we know that baking would become a metaphor for life itself. As we mixed ingredients, kneaded the dough and watched it rise, we discovered the transformative power of patience, dedication and attention to detail. Baking has a unique ability to bring people together, it transcends language barriers, cultural differences and economic disparities. It is a universal language of love, warmth and nourishment. We have proven that, with dedication, passion and hard work, we can truly accomplish anything we set our minds to. As we leave this Centre (Mother Assunta Training Centre) let us continue to explore new flavours, innovate with new techniques and imagine possibilities beyond what we can currently envision.

Now, let us celebrate this milestone together, knowing that our careers as Bakers are only just beginning. May our creations be filled with love, bring joy to others and serve as a testament to our commitment to the art of baking.

Thank you, once again, to the Scalabrinian Sisters and Mother Assunta Training Centre for all that you do. Know that your efforts have made the world a better place and may the impact you create bring meaningful change and continue to inspire others.

Thank you and congratulations once again, Baking class of 2023 (May – Aug).

With heartfelt gratitude,

24 AUGUST 2023

I’m known and called N.P.

I’m sure you all know a bird called a Parrot? I am a Parrot yet I’m a woman of few words and that is because ‘a word is enough for the wise’.

All the appreciative words from my previous speakers I observed, therefore, to say thank you to my super teacher and the entire Management of Bienvenu Shelter would be an understatement.

You know, the school where my daughter attends, their motto, though written in a peculiar language, in simple English says ‘Nothing is too difficult for the Brave’.

Yes! You are all brave, hero’s, winners etc. Winners, not because you lifted a trophy but winners because you started and finished.

My wonderful Management of Bienvenu Shelter and Skills Training Teachers : there is a common African quotation that says “Educate a Man, you educate an Individual; but educate a Woman, you educate a Nation”.

The world will hear and see!
Thank you for a job well done!
On behalf of the Baking Students of May – August 2023, I say KUDOS!

N. P.
Baking graduation day


Our most esteemed Management of Bienvenu Shelter, dear Ladies and beloved Baking sisters, a pleasant morning to you.

It is a great privilege for me to be standing here in front of you, on behalf of the Baking class, to express the happiness that we feel in our hearts today. This has been a journey and we will take many memories with us.

All of us are blessed with the skills we got and are worth congratulating and this is what this day is all about. How many times have we imagined what this day will be like? I have to say I have thought about this day so many times.

Now that we have passed the challenges of Basic Baking, it’s time for us to move on to the Advanced Baking.

The Baking that we have learned will surely help us get through the next advanced stage, and there’s yet another thing we all need to remember : it is a lesson that I have learned through the three months : learn to appreciate others. Remember we cannot stand on our own. Our families assistance, the ones serving, kind, all of them played a vital role in helping us to be where we are now.

Most especially, God made it possible to see us through all and come out better. For all these blessings, I, along, with the entire class, am sincerely grateful to all of you.

Once again, Congratulations – we deserve to give ourselves one huge round of applause.

D. K.
Baking Graduation day

My vote of Thanks

As “a stranger you welcomed me” (Matt 25:35), as a widow you gave me strength, faith, hope and love. You gave me power, knowledge and the vision around my journey to succeed in life.

Furthermore, you encouraged me to be strong, self-reliant, brave and to never look back from where I came. I come here not knowing how to thread the sewing machine needle or even how to stitch a straight line. I made new friends and learnt to co-operate and to be well organised. They laugh in almost every lesson and call me ‘Mama Church’ which encourages me to be strong, a ‘praying mantis’

Before the lesson, the teacher asks me to pray and what comes to mind is a simple prayer “Our Father in Heaven”. This leads us to be organised and to have team spirit. I was very desperate and had no food on the table to feed my three siblings. We were chased away from Soweto where we had a small street business and my future looked bleak, but because of Grace from the Lord, the Shelter welcomed me at the right time.

My Spirit and heart really thank the Scalabrinian Sisters for forming the precious Bienvenu Shelter which we really need. I still need to do the Advanced Sewing course for Trousers and Shirts, to upgrade myself to a higher level of Sewing Academic Courses.

In addition, I really thank my teachers, who do their level best to be passionate, kind and patient in teaching old mummies and old grannies. It was a big challenge for both students and teachers. I really appreciate your concern in this field of sewing academy. Some of us did not have the accessories and materials to start the course but bravely faced the challenge and got the required pass rate of 50%

I also thank all the staff members for supporting us with fabrics, accessories, off-cuts for making bags, pillows and curtains. I honour everyone on this sewing course and really appreciate your concern in my life.

With an open heart, I salute you. Let the world rise and shine in the clothing industry and make a difference to the needy. What you have done for me, let it not be the end. Spirit of Ubuntu – humankind and united as one – Unity.

May God Bless Mother Assunta Training Centre
By M.
‘Mama Church’
Sewing group

“I will forever remain grateful for your kindness and love”

I would like to Thank God who gave me this golden chance to say to you alI…

First, I want to thank the Project Manager, I can’t describe her because I do not have enough words. She is humble and smart because she knows who needs help, so I want to say ‘keep on going and God Bless your life and thank you again’.

To continue, I would like to express my appreciation to Teacher for her excellent teaching skills – you not only celebrated my wins, you turned every mistake into a learning opportunity. Your guidance has been influential and I know it will shape my skills and habits as I move into my professional career. Thank you.

I would like to express my gratitude in being one of your students during my several months at the Mother Assunta Training Center. You have served well and are not only my teacher, but my friend, authority and guide, all rolled into one person. I will always be grateful to you for your support and kindness.

Last but not least, I want to take this time to say thank you to the Scalabrinian Sisters for what you have done for me. I will forever remain grateful for your kindness and love – indeed you showed that you are a Catholic Church whose foundation is love.

Finally, as much as I would love to attend the graduation ceremony, I am sorry I will not be able to do so, due to some personal issues. Nevertheless, I will celebrate it with you, in spirit.

God Bless you all and I will miss you all.

Love you
Baking Group

Letter of Thanks

It gives my heart great pleasure to write this letter.

I am really grateful, from the depths of my heart, for the welcome I received from this Organisation. “I was a homeless woman”, you welcomed me and gave me a place to sleep with my children. I come to thank all the Staff members of Bienvenu Shelter and the donors for having financed my rent throughout these past few months.

A great thank you, from the depths of my heart, that the Almighty God may Bless you abundantly and continue to protect you, with your families, because you always care about the situation of a poor person and you are there to reach out and to help them

Secondly, I come to thank, again, the Director, the COO and the Management of Bienvenu Shelter that offered me work at the Mother Assunta Training Centre in order for me to be an independent woman, to support and take care of my children. I am really happy with the work there, and I would like in future, to open a small business to help me and my children.

Thank you, we love you
Ex-resident of the Bienvenu Shelter
and Volunteer at Mother Assunta Training Centre.

Appreciation letter

We have met strangers among strangers searching for meaning through people and experiences – “I was a stranger you welcomed me”.

This is the most important opportunity given to me to express my grateful feelings for the help, love and care that this Organisation has given to me.

I would like to say thank you, so much. I don’t really have many words but I do appreciate everything that is given to me and to my children.

I sought answers through adventures but I found peace within this Organisation. Thank you for listening and for sharing my thoughts and fears, for accepting me when I was completely down and for loving me when I was lost. God Bless you abundantly.

A candles flame seems so small yet, in the night, how bright it can be – when I light my candle, I think of this Organisation.

You have given me all the power and motivated me. I wish I could reciprocate with all the tender care given to me.

You gave me life and now I can see the purpose in me and that is because of the support you have given me.

I don’t have many more words, other than to say, Thank You and Thank You.

As for my future plans, I can’t lie because I can’t predict what I will be. I can only live in who I am and pray to the Mother Mary that I will be granted the work of my desire.

Thank you so much, I appreciate you all. May you be Blessed always.

Yours sincerely

Acknowledgement Speech

Good day everyone!

It is such an honour to be standing here today with so many different people of different ages, from different walks of life, different backgrounds, who come from different countries.

There is much that love does – love builds, love fulfils and love gives hope, which we have found in the Bienvenu Shelter – Mother Assunta Training Centre.

First, I would like to thank you, Bienvenu Shelter, for organising the Sewing project.

Our biggest thank you goes to our special, patient, lovely teachers. Thank you for your patience, love and support. We have all learnt a lot.

Thank you, Scalabrinian Sisters, for this great opportunity. May God give you the strength and love to do so for others as well.

A wise man once said “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. We have been Blessed to have received all the tools to survive in this world.

When I walked into the Shelter for the first time, I read “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt 25:350. Indeed, we all felt the love and comfort in this home. Thank you and may God Bless you all for touching our hearts with so much love.

Sewing, to me, became more personal. When I learnt how to sew a blouse or a skirt, it felt like all the pieces of my broken heart were being stitched, one stitch at a time. I learnt to be patient with myself and with the sewing machine. I felt stress free whenever I was behind the machine. I have learnt a lot and am grateful for everything.

Thank you all and may God Bless you!
Yours Sincerely,
Sewing Group