The Kayamandi Woman and Children Development Project in Stellenbosch
We started out as a trauma room for victims of rape, domestic violence and abuse in 2007 and was launched in 2009 with the assistance and close relations with South African Police Service and Community Safety.
Kayamandi is a historically disadvantaged 99.9 % black community with few formal housing and majority informal housing. The community consists of nearly 75 000 people. Crime within the community is rife and the victims of the crimes are normally female. There are high rates of domestic violence, rape and abuse.
Victims who report these crimes at the local police station, are normally sent back into the environment where the crime was committed, with no counseling. Children often are brought in with their mothers who have been victims of domestic violence and are just astraumatised as the parent. The very the same victims who are sent back to their homes often end up coming back to the police station with the very same crime that perpetuates itself.
There was a desperate need for a trauma room where woman and children could receive counseling and a place of safety. Thirteen women from the Kayamandi community established the trauma room, their hearts going out to the victims of domestic violence, abuse and rape. They approached the South African Police Service and the local municipality which availed two rooms for the purpose of a trauma room behind the Kayamandi Police Station.
Recently, the municipality allowed us to move the trauma room into a better facility next to the Kayamandi Police station. We offer counselling to victims of domestic violence, rape and abuse, a place of safety and we offer a after-care facility to children who do not have after school supervision.
Victims after laying a charge at the police station will be shown to the trauma room for counselling by one of Trauma Centre volunteers. When women are laying a charge of rape, one of the counsellors of the trauma centre are called by South African Police to assist. SAPS will also call FCS (special unit that deals with raped victims) to take the statements of the victims in the presence of the trauma room counsellor FCS and the volunteer from the trauma room together with the victim will go to the hospital for treatment. After having seen the doctor the victim comes back to the trauma centre.
The victim receives counselling and is able to clean up. Some victims want to go back home, others do not want to go back to the scene of crime. For those who do not want to go back home, provisions are made for them to go to a place of safety or they remain at the Trauma Centre.
The safe houses work through a social worker. The social worker only works office hours, so if the incidents happen after hours or during the weekend the Trauma Centre has to house the victims. Another challenge is if the safe houses are full, the trauma centre has to house the victim. In light of this the Trauma Centre opened a safe house for victims.
The Trauma Centre is not subsidised and functions 24-hours on the compassion of its volunteers and the assistance of some good Samaritans like Stellenbosch United church who sometimes assist with giving clothes and soup. The Trauma Centre is in need of financial injection to operate to its maximum in creating a safe haven for women and children.
The Trauma Centre is the only of its kind servicing the whole community of Kayamandi. We have assisted hundreds of victims(a number will be given as soon as we have our computer up and running again).The trauma room has brought some form of normalcy in the lives of victims because counselling is on-going. After the crime victims comes back for follow up counselling sessions. Counsellors also assist the families of the victims by trying to find solutions for domestic problems in order to safeguard the women.
The Trauma Centre started out with 13 women who volunteered there services 24 hours a day. This number reduced to 5 because of the toll it took on some of the women’s families and the fact that the work they were doing at the trauma centre did not pay them a salary. Thus these women went to look for other paid work. The Trauma centre cannot lose any more volunteers as the service that the Trauma Centre renders has become essential to victims of violence in Kayamandi.
The Trauma Centre has also started a safe-house because as mentioned before social workers are not always available after hours, safe-houses in the area are full and victims end up at the Trauma Centre who are busy 24 hours and counsellors have to assist other victims who come to the rooms. In the next five years we want to see the centre expand with a doctor and social worker servicing it.
We saw a need for a crèche and aftercare for children who don’t have any supervision during the day while parents are working. We opened Sibongile Creche in November 2010. We started with 29 children and now we have 50 children and we are still growing. This is supported by a staff of 6 people in total. A principal, deputy, 4 teachers and kitchen lady to prepare meals.
Physical Address: Old Board Room Building, Masithandane Kayamandi 7600
Telephone: +27(0)21 889 7686
Mobile: +27(0)74 717 9676