From sleeping in one of our City’s homeless shelters to a wonderful new life at John Conradie House, Charmaine D is accustomed to riding the ups and downs of life.
Born in Port Elizabeth in the 1950s, Charmaine is a staunch Christian. Every Sunday, she attends St Paul’s Anglican Church in the city centre, and firmly believes that God guides our path in life to take us to exactly where we need to be.
A qualified youth and child care worker, Charmaine worked at Boys Town in Cape Town and St Martin’s Children’s Home in Glenwood before being retrenched. Unable to find another post, she found herself without an income, or a roof over her head, and was forced to take refuge at City Shelter.
Despite the hardships she faced, Charmaine enjoyed living in a multicultural society and spent a lot of time and effort trying to get homeless, mentally ill people off the streets.
After a three year wait, her name finally reached the top of Tafta’s waiting list, and she was offered a room at John Conradie House, which she loves! From her eighth floor window, she can watch the tugs going back and forth in the harbour, and the yachts bobbing at their moorings. A state pensioner, Charmaine is grateful to receive three meals a day and commends Tafta for providing a very well balanced diet.
Most days she takes a stroll down to uShaka to visit Murdoch and Raymond, two giant lizards. Although she has no family other than three brothers who live in the Cape, Charmaine now has a place that feels like home, and enjoys opportunities to mix with the other residents.