Bienvenu Shelter for Vulnerable Women and Children in Johannesburg

April 1, 2007

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 Centre 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.

There are nine bedrooms set up to accommodate up to 60 residents. Residents can stay in the Centre for up to six months which allows them time to prepare for life in the city. Counseling services are provided for the families. Bienvenu Shelter also assists refugee children with school fees so they can attend public schools in Johannesburg.

REI supported the training classes.


The center provided 44 refugee women and children with accommodation on a temporary basis while they are introduced to life in South Africa. Computer courses were provided to those staying at the center and for the community, in addition to weekly needlework lessons. Daily education was provided for 45 children at the `crèche centre`. Food, toiletries, clothes and medicine were provided for 40 children, improving their health and wellbeing immensely. With assistance from the UNHCR, 7 residents were assisted in repatriation and resettlement, thus freeing up space in the centre for more women and children.