Who are we?

The impact of violence, abuse and dysfunctional families on a diverse urban society like Hillbrow, can be very traumatic and leave lifelong scars of deeply-rooted emotional wounds in the heart of an individual and the community. We, as the Counselling, Care and Support Unit, and as part of the Outreach Foundation, contribute positively towards the prevention of violence and abuse through restoring the moral fibre of society by providing counselling, advocacy, capacity building, community-based research and the provision of a mental ‘safe space’.

Part of the Community Outreach initiative is Counselling, Care and Support interventions that are provided to the participants in our programmes and the community at large.

These initiatives include the following:

  • Case Management – Managing clients individual development plans (IDP);
  • Counselling – Providing regular debriefing sessions, group work therapy to victims of violence, abuse, trauma and bereavement;
  • Pre-rehab intervention – Family reunification, admission to drug treatment centres, and aftercare;
  • Community Awareness – Provide awareness campaigns on issues affecting the community; and
  • Migrant Support initiative – To specifically provide counselling to migrants at risk.

The process of care:

Step 1: Every client is individually assessed by a counsellor worker.

Step2: Intervention decided upon together by the client and counsellor (IDP).

Step3: Exit strategy of the client.

Step4: Follow up.

Counselling is provided in a safe space of care.

Counsellor’s code of conduct 

Our counsellors work to a code of conduct, a practical tool and internal compass that guides all our volunteers, part-time and full-time employees. It is underpinned by an emphasis on our commitment to maintaining a high standard in our ethical and professional approach as counsellors; a high priority on confidentiality, protection of human rights; and offering a professional service to the community.

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Our Goals

We strive to:

Develop family reunification

Provide counselling and support in a safe environment

Undergo weekly street outreaches

Our Team:

Kefiloe Pitso

-Assessment Officer

Sizwe Bottoman

-Assistant Counsellor

Ethel Munyai

-Programme Manager

On Our Blog:

Children are dying because they are migrants

COVID-19 has, unfortunately, shown us how many gaps there are in the Children’s Act of 2005, which is meant to provide all children in South Africa with basic rights.

As per the South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights, section 28, all children in South Africa are entitled to several rights such, as basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services, as well as to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation to name a few.

According to Outreach Foundation’s programme manager for the counselling department, Ethel Munyai, this Act certainly does not cover migrant children.

“I am totally despondent as these rights are just on paper but not actioned. We work with migrants in South Africa and a case we recently came across involved four children who were malnourished due to their parents being unable to work and earn an income during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I was pushed from pillar to post as no one wanted to help.

“I approached several agencies that deal with children’s welfare, and even they were not interested, which really surprised me.

“These four children are just a few of thousands who are battling to survive.

“I eventually found out that the children have to be moved into temporary safe care, which is court-sanctioned, before people will even think of stepping in and this is not a quick process.”

Munyai said that she eventually managed to find a hospital that agreed to assess the children’s health.

“One of the children was immediately admitted as her situation was so serious, and the other two children will receive out-patient care and were taken to a shelter. But for the one child, it was too late.

“My heart breaks for that child and his parents. I cannot believe that he had to die because he comes from a migrant family. He was born in South Africa, but they battled to get him registered.”

According to Munyai, the situation for migrants in South Africa is dire, especially during this time.

“COVID-19 has been bad for everyone in the country, but for migrants, it has other consequences such as being unable to sort their papers out. This makes it hard for them to access health care or employment.

“The consequences of not being able to sort their documentation out results in situations like this, where children are affected and are dying.

“All children, whether they are South African or not should be afforded the rights that are stated in the Act, but that’s not happening.

“They say you can judge a country by the way they treat their children. If that is the case, we are a sad, sad country. I wish for the day that all children in this country are treated equally and are given the opportunity to live a good and healthy life.”

The Outreach Foundation Counselling Centre has provided essential mental health services and support to migrants and South Africans in Johannesburg and Pretoria before and during the pandemic.

Thousands of children are dying because of red tape with regard to migrants
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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80 more masks donated

Outreach Foundation donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary School

We have donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary school.

Over the past year, our social worker intern helped the children at the school with a number of issues. We just needed to give back some more.

Thanks to all our amazing donors who have helped us help others!

If you would like to donate so that we can assist more people, please click here

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Dealing with anticipated grief in a post lockdown society

Corona Virus (COVID-19) does not discriminate, it can affect anyone.

By Johan Robyn

Johannesburg, Saturday, 4 April 2020 – The impact of the COVID-19 Virus on humanity will be immensely felt in all spheres of society. The most significant impact, in my opinion, will be from a mental health level of how we, as a global society, effectively deal with our grief. Globally the focus now is on the physical lockdown, flattening the infection curve and saving economies, but in post lockdown societies, I estimate that with current high levels in death, the biggest challenge globally is going to be how we as a world and society deal with our anticipated grief mentally.

The way how we deal with our anticipated grief lies in how mentally strong we are as a global and local society.

As a symbol of mourning their death, the Chinese government paid public tribute to the over 3,000 deaths it has experienced. This act also acknowledged the grief experienced by its citizens and the country. Somehow, publicly, this was a step in the right direction in dealing with grief, but what about the individual going home to that empty space once inhabited by a loved one who died?

The death rate at present stands at over 70,000 people globally from this Virus. The percentage, one may think, is not that high compared to the numbers who have contracted the virus, but when one takes into account the mental impact of not mourning and dealing with one’s grief for the more than 70,000 families, one realises what impact this will directly have on an already crippled workforce in struggling economies globally.

In 2014 while visiting Germany, I visited the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, close to Hermannsburg. The tour guide, through his predictable and prescribed script, mentioned thousands of people being buried in unmarked graves. Still, in his voice, I could hear the uncomfortable sympathy of mourn and grief that was not adequately dealt with. A grief that the Jewish nation regularly visits and still, today, struggles to deal with.

Similarly, behind the museums and the cold stone statues of remembrances in Rwanda, after the 1994 Rwandan genocide where millions of people were brutally killed, lies emotions of grief that has not been dealt with by those left behind. The same can be said of the Tsunami a few years back that killed millions of people, or even the Ebola outbreak. The list can, unfortunately, go on.

So how do we deal with anticipated grief?

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, in her profound work, Death and dying, gave us a guided journey of grief, with her theory of the five stages of grief, namely denial, anger, depression, bargaining/decision and acceptance. Although her stages of dying are not a strict process leading to acceptance, it can also be seen as an up and down process.

Globally and locally, the world and our communities will be stuck with depression and bargaining during the following period post the COVID-19 Virus.

This will occur firstly as a result of the two-meter social distancing we have had to ensure we create, which has meant that we have lost the emotional touch and presence which is so crucial in dealing with death and secondly, as a result of losing our traditional rituals of mourning. It is these rituals that take us through Kubler-Ross`s stages of death, and ultimately to public acceptance.

In this morning`s news (Saturday, 4 April 2020), it was mentioned that Ecuador has a current death rate of 30 people a day. The local mortuary does not have space for the deceased, and the government has, therefore, had to build death camps, to accommodate 2,500 to 3,000 bodies. This is extremely sad and the families will, I’m sure, battle to come to terms with their loved one’s deaths as a result.

With our inability to effectively deal with anticipated grief, our already torn moral fibre will continue to split into an irreversible stage in our mental weakness.

It is complicated and difficult to predict the number of people who will die as a result of this Virus, but with current infection rates experienced so far, I think it is safe to say the worst is yet to come.  And globally, post lockdown, our biggest challenges will not only be the economic turmoil caused, but how we mentally deal with grief. More than a million people have been infected by the COVID-19 Virus so far, and hundreds of thousands, I’m sure, affected by the deaths caused by it.

Outreach Foundation’s thoughts are with all of our beneficiaries, partners and sponsors. We wish you good health going forward.

Remember: Stay safe, keep your distance and wash your hands regularly.

We can’t wait to see you soon.

For more information on the Corona Virus in South Africa and what the government is doing, go to: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/

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