Who we are
The Adonis Musati Project's mission is to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable and disenfranchised asylum seekers and refugees in Cape Town. In doing so we aim to provide the support necessary to facilitate a transition to self reliance. Read more.
Dear faithful AMP Supporters,
The AMP team spent the last few months of 2012 reflecting on the past 5 years of our work with refugees and asylum seekers in Cape Town, and strategising a more effective method of assisting our clients. After much research, our new Peer Counselling Project was conceived. We plan to launch this programme in April of this year, and are pleased to finally announce this exciting news to you!
Why are we changing our modus operandi?
Since 2007 AMP has provided humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in Cape Town in the form of welfare (food, clothing, shelter, etc.), advice, and referral. While the assistance we have provided has helped countless vulnerable refugees find their feet in Cape Town, we feel that our current model of providing once-off ‘emergency’ assistance to individuals is not sustainable enough. Firstly, given the enormous number of asylum seekers and refugees in South Africa, we are aware that no matter how many long hours our staff work, we, as individuals, will never be able to meet the great need that exists within the Cape Town refugee community. We have also found that due to the traumatic experiences that many refugees face, most of our clients exhibit mental stress and hopelessness that impedes them from moving forward in life. We believe that we need to take a more holistic approach, and that without addressing the mental health needs of our clients, the physical assistance we provide is unsustainable and not effective enough.
2013 Peer Counselling Project Launch
The basis of this project is to empower refugees themselves to assist their peers. We intend to focus our support on empowering a smaller group of resilient, skilled, capable individuals, so that they, in turn, can reach out and assist their peers, thus extending our services to many more vulnerable individuals. We will equip these peers by putting them through a 6-month training programme, where they will receive basic counseling training. During this 6-month period they will put their skills to practice by facilitating 12-week support groups in the Cape Town refugee communities.
There’s the well-known Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
From about March 2012, The Adonis Musati Project noticed that with waiting lists of up to a month to receive an appointment with AMP, alternative ways of more effective service provision to clients was urgently required. In May 2012 with the assistance of a psychologist, Lauri Benblatt, from New York University, AMP embarked on strategic research both in literature and amongst refugee service providers and clients as to the viability of developing and implementing a peer counselling programme. This would essentially entail training resilient members from the refugee community with basic counselling skills so as to enable them to run support groups in various communities and thus assist their fellow refugees. Our aim was to reach many more clients in the geographical areas they live in, run 12 week support groups and thus not only give them the necessary time to develop and move to the next step but also foster an ethos of caring amongst support group members for each other. In addition to the mental health support our clients will receive they will also be informed about the many services and resources, including legal assistance, available to them both in their own communities and the greater Cape Town area. As part of the research AMP ran several pilot project support groups facilitated by peers both for men and women.
I very much appreciate the opportunity I have been given to facilitate a support group for refugee women in Capricorn. These women came to South Africa hoping to find a place of refuge, to live without fear and to be able to work to support themselves and their families. In reality many of them found themselves in a very different situation. All of them have felt unsafe and have found themselves living with the daily fear of violence, drug related crimes and the threat of sexual abuse. They have also been very aware of the hostility often felt towards migrants. Even before they started to work together in the support group, these women had shared many of the same negative experiences and the trust between them developed quickly during the 10-week period of the support group programme. They started to view the group sessions as a place where they could support each other and begin to heal.