Safe Haven for children opens in Hankey

Inspired to turn a quaint white house in the heart of Hankey into a safe home for abused and neglected children, Taise Sampson (47) walked away from a well-paying management job to pursue her passion: helping those less fortunate and the vulnerable.

After months of hard work, Thárros Child and Youth Care Centre – meaning courage in Greek – is ready to welcome its first young resident.

Formerly known as the Hankey Children’s Home before it closed down in 2014, the safe haven is the first of its kind facility for abused and neglected children in the area.

According to Sampson, a business owner and qualified social worker, Thárros will serve as a safe haven for up to 30 children between the ages of two and eight in need of short-term emergency placements, while social workers investigate the best options for their long-term care.

Sampson says she first become aware of the critical need of a temporary home for abused and neglected children while working as a volunteer at Joshua Project in Jeffreys Bay.

Ever since that day two years ago, she dedicated her time and resource to open a safe haven where children removed from their own home by either the police or social worker, can find a loving interim home.

“The aim of Thárros is to offer a safe haven to those in crisis; providing hope, security and opportunity to girls and boys between the ages of two and eight who have been victims of abuse and neglect in the Kouga region,” says Sampson, who can already hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet in the long wooden corridor.

“We will work hard to ensure that each child placed by us is given a safe, caring, healthy, and structured environment in which they have every opportunity to become successful and happy individuals.

“The children will live in a five-bedroom house, where they will receive nurturing, love and encouragement in a family-like atmosphere, along with educational services – providing a solid foundation for their continued growth and development into adulthood.”

Apart from providing a temporary home, special focus will also be placed on programmes for both the children and families.

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“Where possible we want to reunite the children with their families,” says Sampson. “Removal will be the last option.”

According to Sampson, they will start of with five children and gradually accommodate up to 30 children.

“It is going to be a huge challenge, but with hard work and passion, I am convinced that I will be able to make a positive difference in the lives of children,” says an excited Sampson.

Giving her courage for the difficult and challenging task ahead, is knowing that she will serve as an important stepping stone in the lives of children that cross the threshold of Thárros – bringing joy and hope where there was once only tears and despair.

“The support and positive feedback from the local community to date, has been overwhelming. Together we can achieve the impossible,” she says.

How to help Thárros

“Community support will allow us to go far beyond the basic care of each child placed in our home,” says Sampson.

“Monetary donations are welcome, as well as gently used clothing, kitchen appliances and equipment, educational toys, a washing machine and tumble drier.”

Those wanting to help brighten the lives of the boys and girls living at Thárros, a Non-Government Organisation, can contact Sampson at 083 500 0910.

Source: Kouga Express

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