AGM 9th November 2016 Directors report

  AGM Director’s Report 9th November 2016   Empilweni was enduring a serious financial crisis when I began working here in April of 2016, and everyone was, understandably, concerned and stressed about this. But somehow we managed to continue, all working hard, and taking it one day at a time. DSD was happy with the work Empilweni carried out within the community, and it is quite impressive to see how much good work can be done on a shoe-string budget, with a minimum of staff. Seeing the children, parents and youth who arrive here every day, makes one realise the importance of Empilweni continuing to operate in Khayelitsha, and the impact we have on the community and its people. I often watch clients leave here with a smile on their faces, knowing that our dedicated staff have made a real difference in their lives. Reading through the Summary Activity Statistics for 2015/16 may give you an idea of the difference Empilweni has made in the lives of the clients we work with in the past year, but the true effect can never really be measured, as the change we make in one child, or one parent’s life, effects so many others around them. Besides the one-to-one counselling, Empilweni also run Support Groups. For most of the young people and parents who attend these sessions, this is the first time that they experience the support and empathy of group therapy. They tell us that it changes their lives, and many of them will open up and speak about past events and traumas that they have never spoken about before to anyone. Empilweni is unique, as it treats the root cause of the problem that brings the client here, and we work in a holistic way. Home visits continue to play an important role in the work with our clients, and we keep in contact with the schools, to make sure our clients are doing well in all aspects of their lives. None of this would be possible without the team of dedicated staff that Empilweni has on board, and I would like to end off by naming each of them; Lulama (also known as Donald), Thembela, Liso (also known as Bukeka) and Thandeka, you make Empilweni what it is – A Place of Healing. I also have to thank the Board, and, as I’ve said many times since working here; I have never worked with such a caring and supportive board before, in all my years of working in Non Profits, not just in South Africa, but in the UK as well. I would like to thank the Department of Social Development for keeping Empilweni afloat, and believing in us and the work that we do. My gratitude also goes out to Sandy, my predecessor, who has worked tirelessly on keeping Empilweni afloat, particularly at a time when things were at their worst. Last, but not least, our intern Stephen, from Canada. Stephen was also here through the most difficult of times. It’s difficult to imagine how we could have managed without his selfless support, and his absolute belief in Empilweni. I look forward to the new year with much positivity. Empilweni has endured great challenges in this past year, but this has only strengthened our resolve to continue being the Place of Healing in Khayelitsha. Melinda Bechus Director