By VUKOSI MALULEKE
The start of spring has seen the sprouting of a safe space to bring regrowth and healing to Makhanda.
The name says it all.
The Healing Hearts Centre is a psychosocial initiative whose purpose is to provide free counselling and prayer to those who need it. The centre is the brainchild of local businesswoman Ronél Mostert, who, along with her friend Gwen Johnson, embarked on a journey to create a space where Makhanda residents, particularly women, can receive free counselling and prayer.
Mostert, who’s had an encounter with Covid-19, says this period has given her time to reflect on life and realise the importance of having a support system. She attributes her desire to provide psychosocial support to her personal loss. Nearly two years ago, Mostert experienced the loss of her mother and brother, who passed away just a day apart.
And by witnessing some of her family members struggle with mental health during lockdown, she became aware of the need for psychosocial intervention. “We want to give emotional and spiritual support”, says Mostert.
For Mostert, this initiative is undeniably close to her heart.
Johnson, a private teacher for children with special needs, indicates the importance of having a space for women to connect, talk about their problems and pray together. She says that the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 have added to the load women have had to carry, and as such, a support centre for women is a necessity. “We often get so caught up in our own lives, but this is an opportunity for us to give to the community, to provide these safe spaces where we can empathise and sympathise and listen to somebody’s problem”, says Johnson.
Ian Siebörger of Makhanda / Grahamstown 4 Jesus commends Mostert and Johnson for the much-needed initiative. “The Healing Hearts Centre may very well be a life-saving initiative for people who are struggling and need a listening ear and someone to pray for them.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and our difficult economic conditions have greatly increased the stress and anxiety in everyone’s lives, so we need more and more places where people can go to process their struggles and find a way to some healing. I’m thankful to Ronél and Gwen and all the others who will volunteer at the centre for being available to care for those who need some help”, says Sieböger.
Mostert and Johnson have expressed their gratitude to Pieter Burger, the owner of Carwash & Valet Centre, for opening up his building to Healing Hearts and further allowing them to make use of the space free of charge for the first month.
The Healing Hearts Centre is located at Carwash & Valet Centre on 23 African Street and will be open during weekdays between 10 am and 4 pm for counselling and prayer by appointment. However, anyone who needs to use the space to either pray or read a book is welcome to do so at any time from 8 am during weekdays.