Help save The Safe House

The Safe House founder, Kathy Cronje, holds up a placard in front of Parliament. Next to her is Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu. They were protesting over lack of funding for shelters for abused women.

A far south refuge for abused women and children faces closure by the end of Women’s Month if funding is not found immediately.

Kathy Cronje opened The Safe House in 2015 to help vulnerable women and children get back on their feet.

But the loss of one of the non-profit organisation’s biggest sponsors has placed its future in jeopardy.

Ms Cronje said the Department of Social Development covered nearly half of the shelters’ funding, but now that the sponsors had pulled out, The Safe House had to find the R60 000-a-month shortfall.

On Tuesday July 23, Ms Cronje joined a protest in the rain and cold outside Parliament over the lack of funding in the country for shelters for abused women.

The Western Cape Women’s Shelter Movement and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa organised the protest and representatives from 15 other shelters in the province also joined.

Drenched and cold, Ms Cronje held up her placard reading: “enough is enough.”

“We have to talk about the true cost of gender-based violence to society,” she said.

The memorandum was accepted by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

The Safe House provides those it shelters with medical, dental, psychosocial, counselling, rape-care and referral services. It helps them get protection orders and lay charges against perpetrators. It reintegrates children in schools and offers skills training.

It works closely with Valley Development Projects (VDP), a non-profit organisation supporting children and families.

VDP social work supervisor Sue Burger said they could depend on swift support from The Safe House.

“Being able to immediately accommodate our clients who come from abusive relationships and sometimes have a small window where they feel strong enough to ask for help in changing their circumstances is essential.

It is these types of resources that are needed to break the cycle of domestic violence,” Ms Burger said.

Joshua Chigome, spokesperson for Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez, confirmed The Safe House was funded by the department’s victim empowerment programme.

The Safe House leases its premises from the City of Cape Town. City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said the lease would be up for renewal on July 31 2021.

Visit www.thesafehouse.org.za or call Ms Cronje at 084 307 9102 to find out more about The Safe House and how you can help it.