Ikhaya Lethemba, a flagship project for female victims of crime and violence in Braamfontein, run by the Department of Community Safety, has increased the Green Doors programme to 45 centres, according to Thapelo Moiloa, the spokesperson of the MEC for Community Safety.
Moiloa says the programme started in Hillbrow with only 10 shelters. “The department has since partnered with Ithemba Properties to ensure that Hillbrow becomes a safer environment. The project now has fully trained ambassadors, who help the victims with their traumatic experiences. The ambassadors work hand in hand with the South African Police Services (SAPS) to secure their safety.”
He adds that the programme is meant to assist abused women, children and community members to access help at any point or time.
“At the Green Door the victim gets to be counselled and provided with shelter for a period of six to nine months. During their stay they gain skills for development to assist them in getting jobs or being self employed. The aim is expand the programme all over South Africa and help these victims,” says Moiloa.
The Green Door ambassadors are challenged with that the victims are not willing to come out, especially abused men, and some of the women protect their perpetrators.
A member of the ambassadors team called Busi says they also have male ambassadors who can help men who are being abused. “It might be hard for them to open up to female ambassadors, and we make sure that our community members take care of their children.”