Mentors aim to ‘adopt’ and uplift girls

Scores of people converged at Beaconvale Frail Care Centre in Beacon Valley to support and empower young and vulnerable girls, at an event organised by the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse (MPNOA), last Thursday.

“We are targeting young people between 18 and 24 years old. Young people who are unemployed, school drop-outs and those who were abused in various ways. We felt we must honour them and give them a sense of belonging. And also give them special attention,” said MPNOA administrator, Maria Marthinus.

She said each member in the group had to identify a girl child whom they were going to adopt.

“We are about 25 members and each member has to bring one child who they are going to look after and mentor. We also visit them at their homes to find out how they are doing, why they drop out of school or not working and we provide them with counselling. We also try to help them to find a job,” said Ms Marthinus.

She said their organisation comprised vulnerable women who went through all kinds of abuse – physical, verbal, emotional, financial, sexual and mental abuse.

Mareldea Sonday, MPNOA’s operational manager, said safety was a major challenge for the young women they took under their wing, especially when they had to attend their court cases.

“Our challenge is their safety. They get threatened every time by their perpetrators. Some of their partners come here and look for them,” she said.

Ms Sonday said to support and empower the young women they have support groups and a community skills development project based in Tafelsig.

“By having offices in Tafelsig we are trying to take our services closer to the people. It (Tafelsig) is a hot spot for domestic violence,” said Ms Sonday.

One of the young women who attended the event, Nadia September, 22, from Uitsig, said she joined the organisation earlier this year.

“Since I joined this organisation I don’t feel lonely any more. They motivated me because I couldn’t trust anyone before. Now, I feel like I have a sense of belonging. I was neglected by my parents and I had to look after my three younger siblings,” said Ms September.

She said her motto is “Never give up”. “Even though I was neglected, I didn’t turn to drugs. I stayed focused, now I’m doing an early childhood development course at Northlink College,” she said.

The Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Women Abuse is located at the Beaconvale Frail Care Centre premises at 2 Rambler Street, Beacon Valley and can be contacted on 021 376 4788.