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How did we start?

Khayelitsha is a largely informal township located just outside Cape Town in South Africa. It is one of the largest and fastest growing townships in Africa and home to over 2.4 million people.

The rapid migration to Khayelitsha from the rural areas in the mid 1980s resulted in social upheaval which, without proper government or social support, meant that 73% of the population was unemployed and living in poverty.

Children left alone and undefended while their carers went looking for work often fell prey to unimaginable abuse.

Nonceba Family Counselling Centre started in 1997 as a two-room consulting practice run by volunteers from the community when they became aware of extent of the child abuse. Private Individuals, companies and Rotary rallied to support this community initiative.

The challenge of an over-burdened police force and an under-resourced state welfare system, resulted in delays in responding to the high number of child abuse and domestic violence cases in the area.

The ability to respond quickly and appropriately is essential in stabilising survivors and supporting the healing process. The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre was born from this need for immediate and appropriate intervention.

It is estimated that 1 in 3 children living in Khayelitsha – boys and girls – suffer serious sexual abuse by the age of 18.

From our early beginnings in the two-room volunteer consulting practice, it soon became clear that the scale of child sexual abuse was so large that it couldn’t be properly managed from such small premises.

In 2008, the organisation received a major financial boost for the building of a new purpose-built centre with:

  • Children’s safe house which can accommodate up to 21 women and children
  • Abused women’s shelter
  • Therapeutic counselling suite
  • Play therapy room
  • Training facilities
  • Community hall
  • Administrative offices.

Significant progress has been made in reducing sexual abuse of children in the surrounding area and Nonceba now has the capacity to help thousands more.

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