My Father’s House founder to head The Haven

The Haven Night Shelter CEO elect Pastor Shaddie Valayadum with outgoing CEO Hassan Khan.

The founder of My Father’s House community kitchen in Simon’s Town has been appointed as the new CEO of The Haven Night Shelter welfare organisation

Pastor Shaddie Valayadum resigned as executive director of My Father’s House last month to replace Hassan Khan as The Haven’s CEO. Mr Khan is retiring at the end of March when Pastor Valayadum’s appointment takes effect.

“My Father’s House has been an integral part of my and my family’s life for so long, and I now feel the need to answer the call to focus more on the homing, reintegration, and reunification of the homeless. This is a huge call, and I, therefore, had no choice but to relinquish my responsibilities at My Father’s House,” Pastor Valayadum said.

He said My Father’s House had an active board and he was confident it would continue to look after the needy in the valley and beyond.

My Father’s House board chairman Nico Panagio wished Pastor Valayadum well for his new role, saying, “We look forward to what you are going to achieve at The Haven.”

Board member Deena Pillay has been appointed as the new director, Celeste Venter is now responsible for fund-raising and media relations, and Liza Valayadum, Pastor Valayadum’s wife and co-founder of My Father’s House, is the new operations manager.

Founded in 2020 during lockdown, My Father’s House feeds 2 000 to 2 500 people a day and provided about 450 000 meals in 2022, according to Pastor Valayadum.

It has extended its services from feeding the needy to rehabilitating the homeless, offering them training and counselling.

Mr Pillay said he was confident the far south would continue to support My Father’s House and that Pastor Valayadum would take The Haven to new heights.

Ms Valayadum said her husband was passionate about helping the poor because he had grown up under difficult conditions himself.

“I believe he will do exceptionally well at The Haven and I am grateful for the opportunity that has been offered to me as the operations manager,” she said.

Established in 1978, The Haven now has 1194 beds at 15 shelters across Cape Town, including Kalk Bay.

Pastor Valayadum said The Haven believed that no one should have to live on the streets.

“We offer more than a bed, and our social-work services work with the homeless in the hope of repairing relations with family and friends followed by a successful reintegration, ideally back to home, family, and community.”

The Haven also donated all surplus goods and food to others in need, he said.

“The Haven strives to build and maintain partnerships with like-minded people in the interest of eliminating homelessness,” he said, adding that the organisation had had a big impact on the lives of many homeless people.

“Hassan’s 20 years at The Haven was a major contributing factor. He and the board of management have created a strong foundation for the current team to build on,” Pastor Valaydum said, wishing Mr Khan well for his retirement.

Mr Khan said: “We look forward to his (Pastor Valaydum) leadership and are confident that he will lead The Haven to new heights, God willing.”

Pastor Shaddie Valayadum, middle, with My Father’s House board members, from left, Salaam Cader, Nico Panagio, Celeste Venter, Liza Valayadum, Deena Pillay and Rashid Davids.