When Johann Kikillus opened the doors of the Ocean View Care Centre, a division of Soteria Ministries, in March 2015, he had his work cut out for him.
After spending several years working with drug addicts, gangsters and ex-prisoners, he founded Soteria Ministries, an NPO aimed at helping women and children who were trapped in the cycle of abuse and addiction.
Based in an open field behind the Ocean View civic centre, a small dirt road just off Hydra Road leads to the care centre’s blue and white containers which are unmissable, just like the services it offers to the community.
Mr Kikillus said the centre is a safe haven open to all members of the community. It assists and offers counselling to victims of sexual crimes such as rape, molestation and sexual abuse; drug counselling for men and women; assists with education problems such as school dropouts; and advises victims of abuse or other crimes of their rights as well as guides them through the judicial and social systems.
The centre offers a healing room where victims can just sit and gather their thoughts or read.
Massage therapy is also used as a method of stress release and Mr Kikillus said in some cases the stress levels of victims are so high they suffer strokes. He said in the past six months, the centre has focused on the healing of families who have lost loved ones to violent crimes.
“In the past five years there has been about 170 murders in Ocean View and we offer trauma counselling to those family members,” he said.
In addition, the centre also runs a free creche, New Life Kids Centre, which acts as a place of safety for 43 children.
Mr Kikillus said by the age of five years, exposure to drug abuse, violence and sexual crimes have already taken its toll on the children. The centre intends to take in younger children from the age of two next year but to do so it will need more volunteers.
Mr Kikillus said the school’s objective is to provide a safe and healthy environment for the children. The children follow the Grade R curriculum and are given two meals a day.
The school also offers art and occupational therapy and is in need of art supplies, stationery and paper. And while the Mayor’s Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP), provided the containers for the care centre and the electricity connection, the care centre and Soteria Ministries do not receive any funding from government departments.
Mr Kikillus said the centre is still in need of running water and flushing toilets as the children currently use one toilet based at the civic centre and it is not ideal.
In order to improve services to the community, the centre would like to get an outdoor coffee shop, with a Khoisan theme, up and running where locals and tourists can interact and learn more about the history of the Khoisan and the area.
A coffee shop located in a small container across the road from the centre served as a neutral place where locals could meet and openly discuss their problems without prejudice. But sadly, the coffee shop is now out of business due to constant break-ins. “During the last break-in they took everything,” Mr Kikillus said.
To get the coffee shop up and running, the centre will need a new coffee machine, cups, cutlery and a toaster which will enable it to sell toasted sandwiches and also help to provide a meal to locals who are on chronic medication and cannot afford a meal.
Mr Kikillus explains that in order for the coffee shop to remain open, the front gate of the centre will need an upgrade in order to secure the property.
Ward councillor, Felicity Purchase, said the delay in the connection of the toilets is due to issues with budgets and tenders. She agreed that the situation was not ideal for the children and said the MURP office was trying to expedite the connection and that she would look into the possibility of porta flush toilets as a temporary measure. For more information, or if you are in need of help, contact Mr Kikillus at email@example.com or visit the centre.