Abrina Esther House

Abrina Esther House provides a safe haven for women who have been victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking survivors, and helps them rebuild their lives. Based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, it welcomes all women regardless of background and many are referred by other agencies. June and Ivan Grindley-Ferris oversee the project and Nokuthula Mcunu is the General Manager.

It is home to up to 140 women and their children each year, but many more are turned away because there isn’t any space. According to Lifeline, a local NGO who refers women: “AEH is the best facility available to women in this area”. AEH is also the only designated shelter for Human Trafficking Victims endorsed by the Department of Social Development.

E3 helps AEH to provide secure, temporary accommodation for the women (and their children) for 6 months, and the support they need to look to the future with hope. Many have never had the chance to attend school and those that have are unlikely to have finished their education. Most come from child-headed or grandmother-headed households, having lost their parents to HIV and AIDS and poverty.

E3 funding helps provide:

  • Nutritious meals – about 80% of the guests are HIV-positive so this is vital to ensure their antiretroviral medication works and keeps them well.
  • Compulsory counselling by fully trained staff and a Social Worker, and access to a psychologist and medical advice.
  • Skills training and income generating activities, which bring in a sustainable income for the Shelter and equip the women to earn a living when they leave so they are not dependent on others.
  • Opportunities for self-development such as life skills and Bible studies to strengthen women emotionally and spiritually.
  • Budget: £6,200

“My stay at AEH helped me to realise who I am. I feel safe and secure in knowing that I am not alone in times of trouble and hardship. I know that God is with me and that I have found a new family in Christ, the people of Esther House.” Mary, who had suffered all kinds of abuse and had given up on life before her stay at AEH.