Safe haven for children in desperate need of new premises

WITH the premises housing Zanethemba Safe Haven up for sale, it is a mad rush to find a new home for the children in their care, as the charity does not have the means to buy the house.

The Heugh Road, Walmer, house has been home to the facility since 2013 and serves as a temporary home for young children ranging in age from newborns to six year olds who have been neglected, abandoned, orphaned or abused.

“Unfortunately, the property that we are in is being sold and we are not in a position to buy it, although it would have been ideal as it is a spacious home,” Zanethemba director Catherine van Rensburg said.

The organisation, which has been running since 2008, relies on fundraising to cover its running costs.

“We can only really look for property in April or May when our lease expires as we will not be able to pay two rentals,” she said.

Zane themba works in conjunction with the Social Services Department and various child welfare organisations.

It looks after children until they can either be reunited with their biological parents, fostered by a biological family member, placed with non-family foster parents, adopted or placed in a children’s home.

The children remain in their care for between three and eight months and, to date, the organisation has assisted more than 60 children.

According to Van Rensburg, the children who are referred to them have been through a lot and are in need of a place that feels like home.

“A place where the children feel free and safe to be able to experience life a little differently to what they are used to with trees and grass to play on.

“The house also needs to be large enough to accommodate at least 12 children.

A lounge and separate dining area would be ideal, a bath for the children and a large enough yard for a jungle gym, vegetable garden and chickens,” she said, adding they need to be able to sign a lease for at least five years.

She said once they were able to find new premises and have the necessary safety checks done they could then register to have 12 or more children at the haven.

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-Eleanor Douglas-Meyers

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