News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday June 20th 2019

Centre for abused women faces closure.

08 May 2012

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for abused women and children is facing closure due to a lack of funding.

Women and children’s rights lobby group, the Saartjie Baartman Centre is facing closure by the end of this month because of lack of funding, the organisation has announced.

After 13 years of service to thousands of abused women and children, the Centre’s May birthday celebrations, which are expected at the end of the Month, are uncertain.

The Centre has already been forced to close their Worcester shelter, Eerste Begin, because the Cape Winelands Municipality withdrew their support from the project.
At the beginning of the year, the organisation failed to receive money from the Social Development department, according to Ilse Ahrends, the centre’s empowerment manager.

Ahrends said if funds were not available before the end of May their staff would be hit hard as they would not be paid and some programmes might be closed, resulting in hundreds of vulnerable women and children being turned away.

She said the Centre needs an annual R4-million in operational costs to ensure its doors remain open.

“If we do not bring in the money required, women will be left homeless and vulnerable, they will simply have nowhere to go,” said Synnov Skorge, Director of the Centre.

Trying to persuade government to fund them Skotge said “the government needs to come more fully to the party and assist with their commitment to fighting women and child violence”.

Ahrends said in the recent weeks Health MEC Albert Fritz visited the Centre and promised to resolve the issue “but we cannot sit back and relax as there is nothing written down that Fritz would help”.

She said half of their budget came from the National Lotteries but when they did not reply to funding applications sent to them “we knew we would be in this situation”.

The centre was formed in 1999 to provide free shelter, legal and counselling services, job-training programmes and other resources to abused women and their children. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Albert Fritz, Cape Winelands Municipality, Eerste Begin, Ilse Ahrends, National Lotteries, Saartjie Baartman Centre, Synnov Skorge

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