Behind the scenes at The Haven

Wynberg resident Graham Weir and WRRA chair Darron Araujo represented the WRRA at the open day at The Haven night shelter on Mandela Day (Friday 18 July 2014).

Here is Graham’s report and pictures of their visit.

The Haven night shelter Wynberg Mandela Day 2014

The Haven in Wynberg held an open day on Mandela Day and encouraged visitors to drop in at the shelter to help out for their 67 minutes of service on Mandela Day.

Because of the heavy rain there was not much that visitors could do to help but scores of people arrived throughout the day bringing parcels of food, old clothing, books etc.

Darron and I were met at the gate by two friendly residents who directed us to the front door. There social worker Frances Petersen welcomed us and told us about the valuable work the Haven does in its efforts to reintegrate homeless people into society: everything from feeding and sheltering them to helping with applications for ID books, drawing up CVs for job applications and much more.

Manager Pius Okiror was also present and told us about their ‘give responsibly’ campaign whereby members of the public are encouraged to buy booklets of cards, each card worth R10, which entitles the homeless person to a hot bath, a warm meal and clothing and a bed where possible. He discouraged the idea of giving cash to people who knock at your door.

Staff members Karl and Michael took tour groups around the shelter showing visitors the well-maintained dormitories, kitchen, and bathrooms. One of the surprises was a beautiful old piano in the hallway.

For those brave enough to face the rain, Michael took us into the organic gardens where the most healthy-looking produce is cultivated by staff and residents and the good news is that members of the public can purchase these veggies.

The Haven night shelter Wynberg Mandela Day 2014

Left: The organic garden cultivated by Haven residents and staff. Right: Darron with tour guide Michael in the garden.

Old baths are used as earthworm farms and the fertilizer ‘tea’ produced by the earthworms is used in the gardens and is for sale to the public.

The Haven night shelter Wynberg Mandela Day 2014

Also impressive was the small but growing library.

The Haven night shelter Wynberg Mandela Day 2014

We donated a small parcel of books and some coriander seeds for the garden.

To find out more about the Haven and how you can help them click here.





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