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The hope that changes lives

When a mother and her kids have been through the trauma of abuse, and are still in a state of shock and fear, when even a slightly raised voice can turn them into quivering wrecks, their transformation when they come to Carehaven is almost miraculous.

At this Salvation Army shelter for abused women and their children hope is like a fountain of life. The kindness and understanding that emanates from all who serve here is equally astonishing. It wraps around the victims as tangible, healing blankets. It is like a cocoon of love from God himself that embraces the abused, creating a protectiveness that gives them strength to go on.

The hardships each of these unique and special women has endured touches and guides our daily lives. Their courage and generosity of spirit often astound us, and their perpetual hope, even when times are bleakest, is always inspirational.

Learning to use an industrial sewing machine

Carehaven’s Administrator, Captain Miranda Lang, and her staff of 11 thank God for the wonderful assistance of Mrs Alice Fisher, a tireless and loyal volunteer. All have an abundance of understanding, kindness and love. Those in their care feel fortunate and cherished indeed.

The abused women arrive here broken and beaten, with no self-confidence or self-esteem. They are destitute, traumatised and degraded as human beings. Surprisingly, it has taken great courage to leave the scene of their violation. Captain Miranda’s team works hard to change that. “We impress on these women that whatever happens in your life, you need to know that you are a child of God, that He loves you and will find a way for you,” she says.

The shelter provides skills training, such as computer literacy and sewing, which offers hope for the future. “It is often the lack of alternatives that keeps the women in an untenable situation. As we have a small crèche here, on the premises, women fortunate enough to find employment can go out to work with peace of mind,” the Captain continued.

Mrs Alice Fisher (volunteer, on left) with Capt. Miranda Lang

Alice Fisher, our 79-year-old volunteer, is a self-taught seamstress who has worked tirelessly with us for the last 15 years. She believes God healed her of cancer and led her to Carehaven to give hope to the women who’ve suffered so cruelly. She has a passion for sewing and her gentle attitude towards her students offers them real hope for the future. Their first task is to cut out and stitch a bag by hand before being taught to use an industrial sewing machine. They then learn to make a pillowcase, duvet cover, shorts, vest and apron. When leaving the shelter they proudly take these goods with them. Most fabric is donated by our supporters, some occasionally comes from Cape Town stores.

Carehaven also runs a charity shop in Mowbray and donations of clothing, furniture and bric-á-brac are most welcome. Without our dedicated volunteers like Alice, and supporters such as you, we just couldn’t do it.