Grannies reach out to drug addicts

The grannies with some of the addicts that they are helping.

The house at No. 2519 in Khutsong Ext. 3 is not a normal dwelling like the others around it. Here, drug users, especially those addicted to nyaope, are being given the opportunity to kick the habit and get their lives back on track, all under the watchful eye of a group of caring grannies.
‘Many of these boys want to go back to their families but, because of what they did, no one wants to speak to them. Here, they find love and understanding,’ says Ms Reginah Silenga, the chairperson of the Christ is the Answer drug rehabilitation centre.
The centre was registered as a non-governmental and non-profit organisation as early as April 2011. It used to operate from the Khutsong Business Centre but this facility was closed because of vandalism. As a result, the rehabilitation centre ran into difficulty.
The late Mr Themba Wisani used to support the gogos and, until recently, they also had a social worker from the department of social development. The young men in their care are all between the ages of 19 and 25 years old.
Silenga started the group after retiring from her previous workplace, the SAVF’s Lappop nursery school in Carletonville.
‘People advised me to rather open a nursery as it is very difficult to work with drug addicts,’ she told the Herald. But her heart lay in helping the young men and the other grannies felt the same. They decided to continue with the project anyway.
In addition to motivating the former addicts and listening to their problems, the grannies also feed them and make sure they get enough exercise.
They are hoping to get a proper building for the rehabilitation centre soon. The large white house that previously belonged to the Stoch family has caught their attention. It is situated on municipal land next to Welverdiend and is ideal for this purpose.
They are looking for people who are willing to donate food and other items for their project. ‘We also need people with professional skills like social workers or psychologists to help us with what we are doing. The young men also need to go to a formal rehabilitation centre,’ said Silenga.
Anyone who would like to help can contact her at 083 726 9060 or 079 462 6871.
‘Merafong has purchased this land for future development. The grannies will have to file a formal application that will follow the legal process. They will need the input of the relevant departments,’ said a municipal spokesperson when asked whether the municipality could assist.

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