The Scalabrini Centre operates from the Cape Townâ€™s central business district offering welfare, development and advocacy programmes for refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and local South Africans since 2002. The Scalabrini Centre runs under the leadership of director, Miranda Madikane who reports to a board of 9 Trustees (IT2746/2006) chaired by Scalabrini Father Mario Tessarotto and mentored by Bishop Lawrence Henry. The centre is registered as a non-profit organisation with the South African Department of Social Development (021-079 NPO), and as a Public Benefit Organisation with the South African Revenue Services (PBO930012808).
Since opening in 2002, the Scalabrini Centre has offered welfare and development assistance to an estimated 48,000 refugees or migrants. It is our mission is to strive to both alleviate poverty by promoting development in the Western Cape and by offering assistance to refugees and their children. The ultimate aim is that of fostering integration between local communities and refugees / migrants and thereby breaking down xenophobia. We do this through a variety of programmes which we have slowly developed over the past 7 years these include:
Â· The Welfare Desk (2002),a project offering the expertise of 2 full time staff members who control the distribution of a very small emergency grant system, blankets, clothes and dry foods while offering referrals and assistance on access to disability grants, documentation, schooling, shelter and medical care. The desk also advocates for human and refugee and labour rights on a case-to-case basis and through a new project that tracks, monitors and where possible responds to allegations of hate crimes;
Â· Lawrence House (2005), a childrenâ€™s home dedicated to offering 22 abandoned and orphaned foreign children with a stable home environment where they can attend school and heal the trauma of separation from their families with the ultimate aim of ensuring safe family reunification;
Â· The Migration Research Project (2005) which offers awareness raising workshops around issues of human, refugee and workers rights and promotes knowledge sharing between partner organisations and other Stakeholders through the compilation and distribution of publications, papers or reports focussed around topics such as the intersection of the labour market and migration or root causes of xenophobia.
Â· Skills Trainings (2006), a subsidized Digital Literacy programme (accredited with ICDL) runs from the centre, a free English Language school offers 4 levels of language training, a free monthly Financial Literacy workshop, a free Introduction to the Hospitality Industry workshop and a free Life Skills programme teaches basic skills needed to finding and keeping a job in South Africa.
Â· The Employment Help Desk (2007), which offers information on ways to access casual and part-time work, newspapers, websites and communications with labour brokers are publicized. Free fax, telephone, internet and CV drafting is available each morning and advice with legal referral and /or preparation for CCMA hearings around labour disputes is offered. A special internship programme at local schools for 60 foreign educators is also managed from this project.
Â· The Health Project (2009) includes free HIV/Aids testing, VCT counselling and HIV/ AIDS support groups to those who need to manage their health, fresh produce for those receiving anti-retroviral therapy and Acupuncture/Acupressure treatment by registered doctors. Our counsellors also offer individual trauma counselling and run Art Therapy sessions. Our soup kitchen cooks hot meals twice a week offering nutrition to weakened bodies;
Â· The Scalabrini Centre offers conference facilities to other organisations to support the sectorâ€™s network and infrastructural support to smaller refugee based organisation (DRCASA, Global African News, UTRS) and houses a tailorsâ€™ cooperative.
Currently the Centre receives some 1000 people through our programmes each month. As an organisation, the Centre works to assess itself by speaking to our clients, though a suggestion box and through written evaluation forms (used for our training programmes and workshops) and adjusting our work and designing new programmes to their stated needs. Additionally, our staff attends monthly team-building sessions with a specific focus on sharing information to ensure that our team of 26 employees, 8 full-time volunteers and about 22 part-time volunteers are all aware of the latest matters of concerns, focus areas and new services or workshops.