In the Community, for the community, protecting the most vulnerable
SAVF Pretoria Social Work Services
History of Extraordinary Social Work Service Delivery and Important Milestones
Language / Taal: Afrikaans
The SAVF was founded in 1904 as the result of a compassion that sparked to uplift and develop a community devastated, vulnerable and at risk in the aftermath of war. The grassroots and hands-on service delivery to a community in dire social need illustrated the heart and soul of the social work service profession and laid the foundation for the development of this profession in South Africa. Although no academic training precipitated these mammoth services at that time, the impact thereof can nevertheless be subdued or minimised, as it contributed not only to a rich organisational heritage to be proud of, but also laid the firm and strong foundation for the re-build and development of a province and ultimately the country of South Africa.
The organisation originated to serve its country in totality, but due to political influences, was bound to establish itself in Pretoria, from where these extraordinary social work services originated and were co-ordinated.
After 119 years of existence, the impact of this organisation, specifically Pretoria, can be highlighted with the organisation’s active involvement in reaching the following achievements:
- The SAVF was at the forefront of education and supported the National Christian schools financially until the implementation of government schools in 1908. The SAVF continued to play a vital role in the field of education, by providing study loans, bursaries and school necessities to deserving candidates.
- Establish the first safe house for unmarried mothers (Armstrong Berning House) which unfortunately had to close its doors at the end of 2015 due to financial constraints.
- Established two skills training schools for girls.
- The third skills training school was established.
- Establishment of the first school for domestic science in Transvaal (Pretoria)
- Establishment of the first school for midwives and management thereof (Die Moedersbond).
- The approach of counter-performance by the beneficiary became apparent.
- SAVF started to highlight the necessity of children's courts for the protection of the vulnerable children.
- SAVF raised funds to support the University College which was in dire financial trouble. This financial support directly impacted on the sustainability of the college which later became known as the University of Pretoria.
- Establishment of the Child Guidance Institute of the University of Pretoria.
- SAVF participated in discussions highlighting the importance of adopting a more scientific approach to social work, which again led to the development of the social work course to a three year degree and the establishment of the social work profession in the country.
- SAVF addressed a national conference of social work and successfully recommended that The Buro of Social Work (Department of Social Development) be established.
- SAVF facilitated the practical training of the social work students in Pretoria, which is still the case today.
- The first graduates of the 3-year course in social work entered the field and was appointed in a joint collaboration between the SAVF and CSC.
- After 10 years, the SAVF and CSC dissolved their partnership and started appointing social workers separately, but ensured that services would be co-ordinated.
- SAVF Pretoria appointed their first qualified social worker in an administrative position to provide counselling and guidance to the different branches (service managements) regarding family care.
- Re-opening of the Child Guidance Institute and active involvement in the operations thereof. This facility is still in operation at UP today as a direct result of the SAVF’s earlier input. A Pretoria social worker was made available to render services at the Institute.
- SAVF concentrated on the group work method of social work service delivery setting the basis for the recognition of the value of group work in the profession in 1954.
- The first Pretoria regional social worker was appointed in her capacity as a social worker to alleviate the load of the initial social worker in guiding and supervising the increasing demand of services.
- Social workers became more involved in statutory service delivery.
- SAVF developed a manual for volunteers to assist the qualified social workers with their service delivery.
- Parental guidance became prominent in the SAVF in collaboration with the Child Guidance Institute.
- SAVF parental guidance developed into being the first preventative socio-educational service in the continent of Africa.
- SAVF acknowledged and expressed the importance of extending services to all population groups.
- Outreach to Ga-rankuwa by means of establishing a skills development women’s club and empowering the women of Bophuthatswana to start a similar organisation to SAVF in their own communities.
- SAVF extended service delivery to all population groups, focussing on community development and outreach and continued to develop and grow in effective service delivery over the next decade.
- Khothatsong Aids Committee affiliates to SAVF Pretoria Social Work Services and establish 2 foster homes in the community of Soshanguve with intensive guidance and input from the Soshanguve satellite office, who also manages the social work component of the homes.
- Present Day
- SAVF Pretoria developed into the largest social work service office of the organisation and is still a prominent social work service provider in Gauteng.