Bethany Home situated in Milbourne Road, Bertrams, was started in 1989 as a home for 54 abused women and children in Bertrams. The home’s mission is to rehabilitate abused women and their children, who are sent there by the police, hospitals and other shelters. The women who come to the home usually arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs, in a state of absolute hopelessness and helplessness.
When they come to Bethany Home, it is usually the last resort, having been subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse for many years. Although many of the women and children go to Bethany Home as a result of abuse from their partners, it doesn’t take long for them to realise that they have often been abused from childhood; whether physically, emotionally or just abject neglect.
The home is managed by a qualified Social worker; Mrs Bridget Edwards, wife of an Anglican Priest, who does an excellent job providing a strong support system and rehabilitation programmes for these abused ladies. The ladies are provided with training in various skills and they often leave the home with jobs, a few basic necessities, a place to stay for at least a while and the confidence not to re-enter the abusive relationships they endured prior to coming into the home. Rehabilitation typically takes from 6 months to 1 year, and the rate of reintroduction into normal society is remarkably high for this type of institution.
The Rotary Club of Knights Pendragon assists with the monthly purchase of basics such as sugar, flour, maize meal, cleaning materials, polishes, personal hygiene products and toiletries, nappies and baby foods. This form of assistance has been in place for the past 10 years and it is intended to continue into the future. In addition, we have arranged for the donation of regular weekly supplies of fresh foods, fruit and vegetables from a market wholesaler and this is collected and in addition to Bethany Home, shared with other charities in the area.
Because of its location, the Home is often approached by poor and needy residents of the area for food and other assistance and, wherever and whenever possible, such help is given.
In addition to the ongoing support as set out above, given the age of the buildings, we are also called upon, from time to time, to assist with structural repairs and maintenance. Our club is currently in the process and close to completion, of the rewiring the entire electrical system and upgrading it to prescribed standards of compliance (COC), revamping of 6 bathrooms, the installation of security and fire prevention systems and repainting of the entire premises at a total cost of R700, 000 (2016/17).
The needs are huge and ongoing but, the benefits of the help and support given to the needy far outweigh whatever we are able to give and provide.
A further project under consideration, and subject to the necessary feasibility study and the business case before entails the purchase and remodelling of an adjacent property and improvement thereto in order to create a training centre for the ladies of Bethany home and other similar charities / Homes in the area such as the Freda Heartley foundation. The initial cost estimate for this project is R1.2m