LifeLine marks 40 years of giving hope
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Pretoria - For 40 years, LifeLine Pretoria has been providing hope for those who feel hopeless and in need of someone to listen.
The non-profit organisation (NPO) celebrates its 40th anniversary on Saturday and is more determined than ever to keep its doors open to help those in need in the capital city.
Recently appointed director Teresa da Silva said they were privileged to be able to help people and they would continue to do so despite the challenges faced.
Da Silva said funding was one of the major challenges they experienced as they only had seven staff members for four centres, and 60 volunteers to offer counselling.
“Day in and out, people read about all the negative things that happen and our aim is to help those affected. We are willing to listen and offer that caring ear,” she said.
Her research report during her honours degree was titled: Autonomous and Controlled Motivation of People who Volunteer. “The conclusion of my study was that each volunteer brings with them a unique skill, strength and need, and it is only when these are acknowledged and cultivated, that NPOs will retain volunteer commitment,” said Da Silva.
As a former volunteer, she knows first hand how much their work makes a difference, and wanting nothing in return was the attitude all their volunteers embodied.
Helene Northover, a volunteer for 13 years, said she had always been a good listener and knew first hand what the impact of lending an ear could have.
“You don’t have to tell people what to do. All they need is a sounding board and it means the world to them,” she said.
“An encounter I had with a trauma victim who had been robbed at gunpoint stood out for me. He had developed a negative attitude towards an entire group of people because of that incident. Over time, he was able to see how generalisation was not helping him and hearing him say it was like a boil inside had popped, it made me feel good,” said Northover.
She said a positive sign was that many people wanted to come in and speak in person to counsellors rather than just on the phone.
“The volunteers are the lifeblood, our most valuable resource, to be nurtured and respected,” said Da Silva
In addition to the counselling, LifeLine offers various courses and many of the counsellors decide to volunteer after completing them.
The organisation also offers peer youth programmes to build positive communication skills, empathy, the ability to resolve conflict situations, and other skills to help in their daily lives.
“We offer the programmes to learners in Grades 10 up to 12, because it’s teenagers who are at that crucial stage in their lives. They’re at the point of choosing their own unique identity. Choosing between fitting in with their peers and standing their own ground,” said Da Silva.
Da Silva said LifeLine was focusing on changing the massive stigma attached to going for rape counselling, in particular with male rape. “Rape is mostly seen as something that doesn’t happen to men, so many are afraid to come forward and seek help. Men are apprehensive. We want to challenge that stigma.”
An Anti-Stigma Day on June 27 in Mamelodi is going to be organised to speak to the community in a bid to get the message out there.
The most popular courses are the personal growth course which runs during the week or on Saturdays. The course runs for nine sessions (half day) at a cost of R1 800.
How to contact LifeLine Pretoria
71 Watermeyer Street, Val de Grace (corner Naboom and Stamvrug)
Entrance in Stamvrug
Monday – Thursdays
7.30am – 4pm
2.30am – 1pm
Crisis: 012 804 3619
Rape Crisis: 082 340 2061
Office: 012 804 1853
Lifeline Community Centres
Soshanguve: Phutanong Police Station, corner of Makhosini and Molefe Makinta, Block HH, Soshanguve
Contact number: 079 644 8644
Education Block: Itsoseng Clinic
University of Pretoria
Contact number: 012 842 3726
Adami Centre (opposite Christ the King Church)
Corner of Wren Avenue and Woodlands Drive
Contact number: 012 804 1853