Mitchell’s Plain Welfare Organisation has opened its doors at new premises and is waiting to help heal and feed families.
For 18 years, they have helped people at the OGS Building, above Engen Garage, on the corner of 1st Street and 4th Avenue in the Town Centre.
They started this year at Shop 8, in Park Avenue, Rocklands, where they are on the ground floor and able to assist the disabled and senior citizens.
Administrator Zainab Amod said they have two social workers, who are paid by the Department of Social Development, while donations cover rent, stipends, office resources and services.
Founder of the organisation, Maulana Shaheed Lakay, still works with the team, including Ms Amod, lay counsellor Adeel Smith, intake officer Fieroza Ohlsson, social workers Christine Qokelwa, Mantissa Rossier and receptionist Nawaal Abrahams.
It is their mission to empower the poor communities of Mitchell’s Plain and surrounding areas by providing free basic marital counselling and food parcels, and promoting and encouraging the spirit of self reliance.
“It is our vision to have a self reliant and safe society,” Ms Amod said.
Services offered include individual, basic marriage and family counselling, empowering victims of domestic abuse and helping children cope with their parents’ divorce.
Ms Amod said they see up to 40 clients a month, most of whom are women and that drug-related matters are the leading problem.
They do take in walk-ins but prefer appointments, which clients commit to and show they are willing to help themselves.
She said connections with other organisations were vital because if they could not assist a client, their matter could be referred for more expert advice. The organisation also receives referrals.
“We want to encourage and empower our women to come forward for help. Sometimes you don’t have all of the answers. Sometimes we don’t have all of the answers, but together we can find a solution.”
Ms Rossier said clients sometimes came to them when it was too late and “things have already gone too far”.
“Lack of communication is a big problem. By the time they get here it could be too late and they need to do the work,” she said.
She said they gave clients homework and space in between appointments for them to find each other. “Go on ‘date night’. Don’t forget your partner.”
Ms Rossier said social media was also a contributor to marriages breaking down.
“The spouses do not talk to each other but speak to people outside of their marriage,” she said.
MsAbrahams said a highlight at the organisation was their outreach programmes, when they open their doors to provide food, clothes and shoes for clients.
This mostly happens during Ramadaan, the month of fasting for Muslims, which is in less than six weeks time.
“Donors come to us to help distribute their charity,” she said.
The office is open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 4.30pm and from 9am to noon on a Friday.
For more information or to donate, visit their new office or call the organisation at 021 391 2261.