Where it began
Green Door is operated by Brown Lekekela with assistance from his partner, Dudu Nene. Brown started his journey as a counsellor at the Diepsloot police station and has been involved in the Diepsloot community for many years, working with victims of crime and trauma.
“I was exposed to the increasing number of incidents of rape and domestic violence and while some of these incidents were reported, others went unreported due to inaccessibility and fear of the police.”
Brown identified the need for a centrally-situated shelter where victims could report crimes straight away and be given sanctuary. Green Door was launched in conjunction with government during the ’16 Days of Activism’ campaign in 2013 but has not received support from the relevant departments since then.
Brown and his family struggle to make ends meet but continue to provide support and refuge to victims of Diepsloot. They cook, clean, do laundry and offer a place of love without asking for anything in return. They act selflessly and place the needs of others before their own and, in doing so helping to uplift a broken community.
How Green Door helps
Green Door is the only shelter of its kind in a community of an estimated 700 000 people with one of the highest rates of violence against women ever recorded in South Africa.
The shelter’s structure is basic; it is run out of a wooden Wendy-house and two brick rooms that offer few typical comforts but most of the time, for those who arrive in need of help, it is a sanctuary.
Anyone can seek help at Green Door, no matter the time of day or night. Many individuals arrive at the gate immediately after being assaulted. Brown offers them support and counsel and advises them on next steps should they want to lay a charge.
Green Door provides a space for those who have suffered at the hands of abuse to restore their dignity. There is a toilet and a shower and depending on donations, all those who come through its doors receive a comfort pack.
Survivors are then able to seek refuge at the shelter. They are also referred to another social worker at an organisation with which the Green Door is connected.
Hope for the community
Green Door also works to uplift and educate the greater Diepsloot community. Brown regularly embarks on awareness drives at schools, community centres and churches to educate around the prevalence of sexual abuse and steps to take to stop the scourge.
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, Brown held regular dialogue sessions in partnership with other social organisations and community leaders to create a space for those who have suffered abuse and to help them process their trauma.
As Green Door does not have a permanent donor, appeals are made for individuals and companies to donate grocery items or sanitary packs for those who it helps. Through Brown’s network in the community, these donations are also distributed to schools and clinics.
Covid-19 relief efforts
As an organisation that exists to uplift the community, Green Door – through the kindness of individuals that have provided donations – has been able to go beyond its scope of practice to respond to the call made by our President to distribute food parcels to the needy community at this highly challenging time.
The shelter hopes that with more help, it can reach more people who are currently in dire need of support and are at risk of falling into deeper levels of poverty in which they could be taken advantage of.
Brown does not receive an income and Green Door survives by selling old items donated to it and from ad-hoc donations by companies and individuals. Due to the nationwide lockdown and restrictions on movement, this is no longer possible.
There is a desperate need for assistance currently, as the community battles the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. Without the ability to earn an income, families do not know where their next meal will come from. Thousands of people queue each day from dusk until dawn in the hope of receiving a food parcel, and many leave empty-handed.
Green Door is currently taking donations to support those who are most vulnerable right now. The shelter is appealing to the public to consider making a donation in the form of:
This is for the purchase of essential grocery items to form food packs that will be distributed fairly and to those who need it most. It is also to help keep the lights on and to purchase airtime and data, so that the shelter can continue to service and accommodate clients at this time. All contributions made are reaching those who are currently most vulnerable in the community directly.
Green Door is appealing for once-off cash donations and monthly contributions, to help keep the shelter in operation going forward.
There is a massive need for non-perishable food items like maize meal, rice, lentils, instant noodles, instant soup, baked beans, corned beef, pilchards, other tinned veg. Long life milk, cereal, sugar, tea, juice.
The shelter is also appealing for donations of sanitary products – pads, soaps, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, sanitizer and any baby-related items (formula, cream, nappies, clothing for newborns – for those seeking refuge at Green Door and for others in need during lockdown.
Green Door has arranged a drop-off point at Witkoppen Clinic for good Samaritans who wish to donate items. Drop-offs can be made during the week.
Contact at the drop-off point: Dagmar or Lynette
Address: 105 William Nicol Drive, Fourways, Johannesburg, 2055
Green Door takes donations of clothing and old items, that Brown uses to sell to make an income. These items are also distributed to those in need, especially over the winter months. Post lockdown restrictions, we can arrange for collection.