Help keep the dream alive

Founder and CEO of Hangberg Dreams, Zulfa October, has her sights set on finding a new home for the organisation.

A local rehabilitation centre in Hangberg has been dreaming of a better future – a future in which they have a place to call home.

Hangberg Dreams is a registered non-profit company that was initiated in 2019, to tackle issues relating to substance abuse, provide treatment, support and resources, and improve the well-being of individuals, families, schools, workplaces and the communities through their growing programme.

The organisation was also funded by the provincial Department of Social Development in 2021 for community-based treatment and early intervention.

Founder and CEO, Zulfa October, who also managed Hout Bay Cares for nine years, said the organisation had been facing some difficulties over recent month, particularly when it came to finances.

“Stakeholders are not always willing to assist, especially when it involves substance misuse,” Ms October explained.

“Currently, we are operating at a financial loss, yet we strive to do the best and treat a person the way we wanted to be treated.”

In addition to their financial headaches, they also try to assist with other challenges faced by the community – even if it’s outside their core focus.

“The reality is (that) although we are in the community as a substance misuse rehabilitation centre, we deal with all aspects of the community, whether we have to mediate in family matters, help students with career guidance, reading, writing etc… We have to service outside our scope of our portfolio as the challenges in the community overlap each other,” Ms October said.

The financial restrictions, however, limited the organisation’s ability to properly service their community.

A recovering addict, who only wanted to be identified as Ashley, and has been through Hangberg Dreams recovery programme, called on the public to put the spotlight on services helping the community.

Ashley said: “There are many people scared of going forward and scared of what might (happen) to them. They don’t know about the programme or how it can help them. We need more programmes like this, because there are many people who need the help.”

For five years, he had been scavenging on the streets in search of his next fix. Addicted to tik and heroin, he quickly realised he needed the help.

“A family member of mine referred me to Hangberg Dreams. I was very reluctant at first, but then I met people who went through the programme and I saw how they changed their lives for the better,” Ashley said.

“Many people are facing issues out here in Hangberg and they end up turning to drugs to deal with those problems. In no time, they are hooked and have no way back. We need more places like these around Hout Bay.”

After carrying out extensive research, Hangberg Dreams found that sober environments were important for “recovery and sustainable life”, which then gave rise to the Hangberg Horizons Recovery Home, in 2020 to help more people. The started providing services to Hout Bay Central, Hangberg, Imizamo Yethu and also other other communities outside of Hout Bay.

But once again, the organisation is faced with financial challenges as some clients coming in for treatment were unable to pay for the services provided at the recovery home.

“The space is also limited and could be serving more of the community should we have the resources. Everything costs money, and how do we say no to a person that wants to change his/her life?”

Ms October explained that their ultimate goal was to obtain their own piece of land in order to create a stable hub for those who need help.

“We will be able to render the services we do and will enhance the services. A building designed to the specific needs of the Recovery Home and adding value to the community offering treatment at Hangberg Dreams and a sober living environment at our recovery home,” she said.

But their efforts have hit a brick a wall.

“There is never any land available but I am sure there must be a place of safety and refuge for our essential services to our community. Even the place where the old police structure was could be a suitable solution to our needs,“ Ms October said.

“(I’m) shouting out loud for help to all community leaders and officials.”

Hangberg Dreams has been reaching out to those battling with substance abuse, offering their recovery programme.