[notice]Gateway News Volunteer Reporter Mark Volmink writes about a Mandela Day visit to Victory Outreach Christian Recovery Home in Cape Town today together with his workplace colleagues. One of his colleagues on the visit was himself restored to God, his wife and family and his health three years ago while a resident at the home.[/notice]
Mandela Day outing
On the outskirts of Cape Town, lies the lowly suburb of Hanover Park which is home to a community of wonderfully talented and warm-hearted individuals ( Benni Mcarthy, the former Bafana soccer star, hails from this area), despite the unfortunate prevalence of poverty, gangsterism and drug abuse.
Located in this troubled township, is a “beacon of light” named Victory Outreach Christian Recovery Home(VOCRH), a non-profit organisation that cares for people whose lives have been ravaged through challenging circumstances and poor choices.
“The purpose of the home is to reclaim, redeem and restore men and women, whose lives have been destroyed or disrupted by prostitution, drugs, alcohol and/or other substance abuse, by establishing three essential values, a commitment to Christ, restoration of the family and a positive work ethic,” said one of the Directors, Loretta Avina.
The VOCRH was started in the heart of founder and pastor of Victory Outreach International, Sonny Arguinzoni in 1964 in the city of Los Angeles, California. Pastor Sonny was a heroin addict as a young man in the streets of New York City. Through the ministry of Nicky Cruz and David Wilkerson, Sonny was reached and found deliverance from his drug addiction. Sonny entered the Teen Challenge Programme where he learned about his new life in Christ. Sonny then went to Bible School in Los Angeles and it was there where he saw other drug addicts, who needed help. He reached out to them and began taking them into his house where he would pray for them and teach them about a new life in Christ. Soon after that, he started a Church where these former drug addicts could find a place of belonging. This was the beginning of the VOCRH. From humble beginnings, they now have over 300 hundred centres around the world where drug addicts come to find a new beginning and their purpose in life.
Over the past three years, VOCRH in Hanover Park has cared for more than 1 500 men and women. Currently, there are 100 residents at the home, who come from different parts of South Africa. With the assistance of 23 dedicated staff members, the majority of whom receive no fixed salary, they receive a free place of refuge, with daily meals in a secure environment. These residents also receive daily Bible teaching, one-on-one counselling, family support group sessions and an opportunity for involvement in the local church.
VOCRH also provides skills training and job creation opportunities for the men and women.
“We are in the process of setting up a computer lab where individuals will learn basic computer skills and have the opportunity to complete their matric. We also offer a second phase in our home, where upon graduation, they move into a less structured environment and they are given job opportunities.” said Avina.
She said that during the second home phase the residents learn more about a proper work ethic and responsibilities such as paying their rent, etc.
A number of graduates from the home are today, fully functional, economically active members of society, because of the help and support they received there. Tristan Isaacs, who currently holds the position of IT Technician at a company called Intellicard, is a ‘product’ of VOCRH.
“Three years ago I was completely down and out, due to drug abuse, poor choices and mixing with the ‘wrong crowd’. I was also separated from my wife. VOCRH introduced me to God and showed me that He had a wonderful purpose for my life. Through their interventions and support, I was able to ‘find my feet’, secure a good job and be re-united with my wife and family. I am eternally grateful to them, for helping restore my dignity”, were words of gratitude expressed by Isaacs.
VOCRH has a 70% success rate of individuals who are ready to reintegrate into society, after spending 9 months at the home, as active participants in the programme.
“Every 3 months , between 18 to 25 men and women graduate from the Home, many of whom have been restored to their families and are productive and functional in their communities”, said Avina.
With limited resources but passionate, committed staff and volunteers, VOCRH has made an indelible impression upon the lives of many struggling individuals over the past few years, giving them hope for a better future. For VOCRH to be able to sustain their effective interventions and achieve even greater success, additional funds and resources from caring companies, institutions and individuals are required.
“Our greatest needs are beds and transportation. Currently, with our home being at maximum capacity, beds and bedding is something we go through often. Transportation also remains a constant challenge for us as we only have one vehicle (Quantum)! Weekly, we transport our residents to church, which is a huge part of their recovery. We make up to 10 trips for any given weekly function. Wear and tear on the vehicle and petrol , are recurring expenses for our one Quantum! Also, to provide a nutritious meal three times a day for 100 individuals, is very costly. Funding or donations in this regard are always welcome:” commented Avina.
One such caring Company is Intellicard, a business that has developed a student card system which is used by tertiary institutions to administer the allowances component of student loans and bursaries. In honour of Nelson Mandela’s support of marginalised and less fortunate people, Intellicard decided to purchase beds and food for VOCRH, to the value of R10 000. The company staff also spent a few hours at the Home on Mandela Day, sharing a meal and interacting with the men and women residents.
“Intellicard’s donation of beds means that individuals at the Home will sleep on a comfortable bed in a safe environment, free from the fear of being killed on the streets. Also, your donation of food will put a smile on their faces. They are immensely grateful for the privilege of having to enjoy a plate of food, in a safe environment, instead of having to beg or steal for a simple piece of bread”, said Avina.
More info and contact details are available on the Victory Outreach Church website: http://www.vocapetown.org/