Vuyani Safe Haven is situated in the town of Graaff Reinet, approx. 300km inland from Port Elizabeth and falls in the Province of the Eastern Cape, Republic of South Africa. The province is one of the poorest in the country with a high unemployment rate, especially in the rural towns.
Vuyani Safe Haven was started in September 2000 by a group of concerned community members, with special mention to Moira Strauss, and two very dedicated Social Workers: Adelette Phillips from Dept Social Development and Marle Slabbert from Child Welfare. After the two Social Workers left town, Moira and Lena Adams, who is still working at Vuyani, mostly carried the vision of Vuyani alone. Though Moira has moved away from Graaff Reinet in 2011, her work continues.
The home has been formalized and registered as a Non Profit Organization (N.P.O). Vuyani now have a full time manager and a full time Social Worker and a team of trained caregivers. The organization is overseen by an elected board made up of volunteers.
The home has evolved into a Child & Youth Center, for children in need of care from babies to 18 year olds. There are two homes, Vuyani, which houses babies, girls and boys (under 11). At 11 years of age the boys are moved to Thanduxolo, the second home. All children are placed by a court order. The Department of Social Development of the Eastern Cape supports 20 of the children with a subsidy or, but there are often more than 20 children at the home, no child is turned away.
The children at Vuyani are placed with family or suitable foster parents as soon as possible, but there are children for whom Vuyani becomes their only home. Vuyani is the only Child & Youth Care Center in an enormous rural area and children are sent to Vuyani from other areas around Graaff Reinet. Although we have the support of the Department of Social Development, extra funds are constantly needed to pay for additional food, salaries, education and training of children and staff and many more incidentals.
Much still need to be done to comply to all the regulations regarding a Child & Youth Care Center under the new Children’s Act. However, with the assistance of Social Development, all the Stakeholders in the local community and other funders and the Business sector we will be able to do this in the time frame stated in the Act.