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Alexandra Thusong Service Centre (Gauteng)

Closed Doors and Dignity

Community Development Worker and Senior Communications Officer mobilise service-providers for social dignity of the mentally ill

Thusong Service Centres impact tangibly on people’s lives by contributing to poverty alleviation through access to grants. These basic services are not only accessed at Thusong Service Centres but delivered by Thusong Service Centre staff to the community. Community development workers (CDWs) and senior communication officers (SCOs) work together to bring social services to those who would otherwise not have access to them.

SCO Robbie Senoelo is among those who chose not to look away, but to act, in the face of sexual abuse and poverty. Two sisters no longer fear sexual abuse in their own home since locks were installed on their door.

Senoelo had encountered the sisters while tracing Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) beneficiaries. He was shocked by the abhorring conditions in which they lived. In a dire state of neglect and poverty, the mentally-ill sisters and their children depended on child grants for survival.

He immediately mobilised government departments at the Alexandra Thusong Service Centre. Through the Department of Social Development (now South African Social Security Agency), the sisters applied for disability grants. CDW Motshabi Manong listed them with relevant non-governmental organisations for food parcels. A social worker from the Department of Human Development of the City of Johannesburg’s Region E, has listed them as a special case on the Preferential Housing Waiting List of the Department of Housing. Another TRC beneficiary, who now lives abroad, had a broken door repaired and a security gate installed.

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