North West & Gauteng

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    A story of hope told by a social worker:
    09 December 2016



    SONJA'S STORY:

    A story of hope told by a social worker:

    Sonja is a young lady who is now 25 years old. I have known her for the past six years. Her father is well-known and widely respected in the community. He is also in a position of power.Her parents had a very unhappy marriage and they divorced. The father remarried and Sonja remained with her mother. This lady unfortunately passed away and the child went to live with her father and his new wife. The father has huge problems with anger management, violence and jealousy. This all exacerbates when he uses alcohol.

    Sonja successfully completed her secondary school education and wanted to follow a career in nursing after school. Although the father has the means to assist her, he did not see his way open to do so. She and her stepmother, Anna, got along very well in that they were supportive, caring and protective of each other. This was the direct cause of a very violent incident where Koos almost kicked his daughter to death.

    Due to the influence he has in the community, this incident was played down to a mere 'accident'. She had to undergo repeated plastic surgeries to fix the damage he had caused.

    She came to our welfare office to enquire about enrolling at a hospital for training upon which we intervened with counselling and supportive services and encouraged her to rather consider university training – in light of her excellent school performance. Eventually she was assisted throughout the entire induction, enrolment and registration at a university.

    The family was engaged in sessions to address both the attack on Sonja, restorative justice and financial assistance for her studies. Koos continued to justify himself and minimised the incident. Although he undertook to pay the registration fee, he never did. We assisted her in obtaining the necessary funding for her registration and initial costs.

    We have always been very supportive of her and advised her on certain actions to take. We still remain in contact with her. She never gave up and has done extremely well for herself. She passed all her exams with flying colours; gained a few distinctions and is now a nursing sister at one of the large private hospitals.

    (In order to protect the identity of the people some of the details were changed)

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