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Fire Damages GBTSA Verulam Home For Girls

burnt school classroom

A fire has damaged one of the residences belonging to Girls and Boys Town South Africa (GBTSA), the 63-year old non-profit organisation that cares for vulnerable and disadvantaged children and youth.

The Verulam Family Home for Girls, north of Durban, caught fire around 23h00 on Friday 23 July. The exact cause of the fire is unknown and clarity is expected when the forensic investigators provide their findings.

Lee Loynes, CEO of GBTSA, said the girls and staff who were asleep when the fire began, awoke to the smell of smoke, followed their well-practised fire drill protocols and evacuated safely. Temporary accommodation has been arranged for the girls while plans are underway to repair their damaged home.

“Already overburdened by the weight of life circumstances such as physical and emotional abuse which led to their being placed in our care, the girls have now had to contend with the trauma of a fire at their home, and have done so very bravely. We are very proud of them,” Ms Loynes said.

The Verulam GBTSA Family Home is a regular house in the community with a trained caring and professional team who serve as Family Teachers. The Family Home model is unique in its focus on family-style, care-for-others ethos, with emphasis on personal development, social skills teaching and meaningful self-governance by youth. GBTSA ensures youth in its care attend nearby community schools and provides learning support as part of a holistic child-centred nurture and care approach. 

GBTSA hopes to repair the damaged house within eight weeks so that the girls can return to the semblance of normal family life that they had become accustomed to. 

“We are deeply grateful to the public who are always there for us and our children,” says Ms Loynes.  

Please contact Saloshna Ellary on [email protected] or call her on 032 943 3189 to discuss any financial support offering or donation of building material and/or furnishing assistance.  

 

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