Bienvenu Creche Activities

June 4, 2008

The Bienvenu Shelter was established in 2001 in a suburb of Johannesburg as a refuge for women and children refugees. The shelter provides accommodation and nutrition support while providing them with skills to prepare them for eventual return to their countries. The Shelter runs a crèche for residents’ children and children from the community. This gives the children an opportunity to integrate in the community and allows the mothers time to attend training classes and to search for work. The training classes include sewing and bead work and computer literacy.

This is an ongoing project which welcomes and accommodates refugee women and their children for a period of 3 months, guaranteeing a secure and dignified environment as well as means for socio-educative, socio-economical and socio-religious development, which will assist with their integration into society.

REI has supported this agency in the past and the funding committee recommends that we continue to support this project in 2008 by providing funds in support of the shelter’s crèche operation. It is expected that the crèche will provide daily support to the children of 45 women.

To learn more about the refugee situation in South Africa and the issues involved please look at our South Africa country profile


During this year, the Shelter functioned with three projects and various activities that helped them organize the center and the life of the 128 women and children that live there. The project supported by REI was the crèche project, which gave schooling to 45 children daily, both refugees and locals. The aim is to help the mothers have time for work/to look for work and at the same time integrate their children in the local community.

Both the children and their mothers had access to English classes, as well as nutritional, medical, educational and legal support when needed.

Case Study

Mrs. E. comes from Belere, a town in Lubumbashi, DRC. She had to flee when she was harassed because her husband refused to join the Kabila army.

Because she does not know her husband’s whereabouts, she suffers from depression and anxiety, resulting in insomnia, impatience and a sense of hopelessness.

Mrs. E. and her 4 children are being provided accommodation assistance as well as other basic needs such as food and clothing for three months at Bienvenu Shelter. The Shelter has made referrals for education assistance for her children and trauma counseling help for Mrs. E. The children are participating in the children’s group that provides for refugee children’s needs. The Shelter’s senior management staff continuously provide emotional support as required.