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Project for youth at risk

Tennyson House serves children living on the streets in and around the city of Durban. Working with children, youth and their families in areas of prevention and early intervention, the intention is to preserve the family structure.

The context:

Urbanisation, high unemployment, crime and political violence in South Africa during the 1980s and the 1990s produced a chaotic social environment in which the HIV and AIDS pandemic flourished and stable life regressed. This has resulted in the breakdown of the family values. Children, as a result began to experience:

  • poverty
  • abuse
  • having to head households
  • lack of education
  • staying with grannies/extended family members

The consequences generally have devastating effects on the children:

  • crime
  • prostitution
  • begging on the streets
  • transactional sex
  • lack of skills dues to lack of education

Tennyson House Programmes Philosophy & Models

Outreach Programme (Street Work):

Tennyson-house-street-workThe outreach team uses interactive programs with young people living on the streets, so that they return home or into a short-term residential based program. The program’s goal is to build trust with vulnerable young people and encourage them to make positive life choices, such as moving off the streets. Following is the process/model that result to a child placed back with their family or alternative placement that all parties agree to.

Temporary Girls Residential Programme:

Tennyson-house-temporary-residental-programme-knittingThe Tennyson House residential program (shelter) aims to provide a safe, secure and child-friendly environment for girls. These girls are either referred to internally by a programme of Tennyson House or any other institution/agency that we link with. The shelter can accommodate up to 15 girls and is registered and meets the requirement of Department of Social Development. The girls are placed as overnights or for a period of up to 1 year. Whilst in the shelter the girls take part in the rehabilitation program preparing them to be reunited with their families. We start the process of reunification when we are satisfied that the girl is ready to be integrated and reunited with their families.

Community Family Preservation and Economic Strengthening Programme:

Tennyson-house-community-family-preservation-and-economic-strengthening-programmeThe community team aims to encourage family preservation so that children in high risk communities do not turn to the streets. Tennyson House has a drop in centre in Amatata, community in Inanda. Children who attend the centre for programs are those who have never left the community or the ones who have been reunified with their families. In addition to the drop in centre approach, there is the use of creative arts in doing lifeskills through an edutainment team (Yazini) which work through crèches, primary schools and street based campaigns in Inanda and Mzinyathi.

Children who have been reunited with their families and require further support are cared for by the Family Care Unit/Aftercare, who monitor the relationship of the child and family. Families within communities are involved in their own development while the programme develops the parents and forms linkages with the community leaders to strengthen families.

Tennyson-house-self-help-groupsSelf-help groups (SHG) or “Omazisize” is a solace for woman who are involved in income generation activities and life skills. These woman see the opportunity to save from their limited resources, provide for the needs of their family and be leaders in the fight against poverty within their community.

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