The sound of wrapping paper tearing, excited chatter and giggles of youngsters filled the corridors of Tehillah House in Elsies River on Saturday (10 December 2011). Tehillah House not only provides a safe haven for these children but is also a rehabilitation centre for the parents and people from the Elsies River area who are addicted to drugs. The majority of these children have been traumatised by domestic violence and have had to deal with incredible challenges in their young lives.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sister Magda Kleyn, who spearheaded the Tehillah House initiative 16 years ago says, “It is heart-warming to see the children’s smiles and to know that sponsors such as Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev) and the Cape Town Church of Christ, spared a thought for us and our children this Festive Season, so that each child could receive a toy. Without the generous support of all our sponsors we would not have been able to do the work we do in the community. When we started Tehillah House the building was just a shell, but through a lot of hard work and support from corporate organisations that opened their hearts to us, we have been able to build and grow Tehillah to what it is today.” Kleyn continues.
“I come from Elsies River and it is incredibly important for me to invest back into the community. People need to know that they have choices and are able to get out of their situations and to prosper even if they are living in an impoverished area or shelter.” Kleyn explains.
When it comes to Tehillah House’s drug rehabilitation program, James Louw, Deputy CEO of Tehillah House explains, “Unlike other institutions, we don’t separate the children from the parents. During the day when the parents undergo treatment, they are also taught parenting skills, and at night they are reunited with their children. We act as a watch dog, looking after the children and making sure that the parents take responsibility for them as part of their rehabilitation.”
“Not only do we provide support for drug rehabilitation,” continues Louw, “we also provide permanent residence for women, children, men and the elderly who are either homeless or abused. We also provide health care for the frail and provide food for 600 to 800 people daily.”
Stuart McLeod, Managing Director of Peninsula Beverage Company indicated, “We are delighted to be part of this initiative and to see the joy on the children’s faces as they opened their presents. We challenge more corporate organisations to get involved in this incredibly worthy cause.”
Kleyn says, “I have my set my sights on duplicating the Tehillah House model in every Province in South Africa within the next six years. So far we have established centres in Elsies River, Johannesburg as well as the Northern Cape.”
For more information about Tehillah Community Centre visit www.tehillah.za.org or for more information on the projects that PenBev are involved with, please visit www.penbev.co.za