“Many a woman, often with their children, shows up on The Cradle of Hope doorstep during this time – traumatised, afraid and alone, with blood running down her face or legs, wearing only the clothes she has on her back.”
Kay*, 47, arrived at the safe haven about six months ago. She will spend her first Christmas there. She said the last Christmas she had experienced was six years ago.
Her family and 14-year-old son have disowned her.
“I cry daily. Seeing the abundance of Christmas presents delivered by generous donors makes me sad and happy at the same time.
“Sad, because my children never had presents and happy because there are children out there who will.”
Five-year-old Omega* said she was looking forward to the “best Christmas ever”.
This will be the first time she will have presents under the tree and a proper lunch with all the trimmings.
“Her excitement is infectious. You can't help but see the smallest things, often taken for granted, with fresh eyes and renewed gratitude.
“In a house filled with laughter and joy, they are made to feel special and normal — in short, the kind of Christmas every child deserves to have,” said Van Brakel.