Vuyani is the only Child & Youth Care Center in an enormous rural area around Graaff-Reinet in the Camdeboo district of the Karoo where poverty and unemployment lead to a high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse. Vulnerable children in need of care and protection are placed at Vuyani for 3 – 6 months after being removed from their biological parents by court order, because of severe neglect or abuse.
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 now is a Board Member 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 Child and Youth Care Centre overseen by the Non Profit Organization (N.P.O). Vuyani Safe Haven NPO is run by a Board of dedicated volunteers – they are mostly professional people. 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.
JOY is restored to Vuyani’s children when they can recover from trauma in a homely atmosphere surrounded by the loving care of a dedicated Vuyani Staff team while receiving therapeutic, developmental and recreational programs from professionals.
There are two homes, Vuyani, which houses babies, girls to 18 and boys (under 12) and the second house which Vuyani Safe Haven wishes to develop as a Cluster Foster Home for children with multiple challenges, placed in their long term care.
The Department of Social Development of the Eastern Cape subsidises 22 children, but there are often up to 28 children at the home. Extra funds are constantly needed to pay for food, salaries, transport, maintenance on infrastructure, education and many more incidentals.