Healing young women "one step at a time"
Shamwari Village serves a unique need in a novel manner. Women, and especially women veterans, suffer from homelessness and mental health issues more so than any other segment of our society. This is a multi-faceted problem that is unfortunately addressed by most treatment facilities in a one-dimensional way. Our women deserve better. Our veterans deserve better.
Shamwari Village is a multi-dimensional treatment and residential facility that serves to treat the woman holistically – to include any children that are affected.
What is a holistic treatment concept?
Provides a home – without short-term limits on length of stay for homeless women/women veterans.
Provides a longer-term home for the woman and her children.
Provides mental health treatment for the woman, the veteran, and the children (so often neglected in the treatment of homeless women and veterans).
Provides substance abuse treatment and counseling.
Provides medical and dental treatment.
Provides education and training.
Provides the opportunity to grow stronger in a supportive community and re-build a path to independence.
What are the special needs of female veterans? Women veterans are often the victims of sexual harassment and military sexual trauma (MST) while serving in active duty. They are also subjected to the same traumas that men are subjected to in combat, leading to PTSD and other mental health issues. Once these women leave the military, there are no options for holistic treatment to include children and most in-residence treatment facilities have short-duration time limits that do not allow children into the facility. This time-limit and child-restriction often puts women and their children into a homeless situation. Houston is the second-largest concentration of homeless women veterans in the U.S.
Shamwari Village is a concept developed by Layne Neuenfeldt, a Navy wife and the mother of a substance-dependent child who suffered from extreme anxiety. Layne’s daughter suffered for years as she went through several different short-term, in-residence substance abuse treatment facilities that focused only on the one dimension of substance abuse. Her anxiety and alcoholism were not addressed holistically. Layne’s daughter passed in March 2021. She dedicated herself to building a better way to address and treat the needs of women and women veterans who suffer from similar multi-dimensional issues.
Layne is the Executive Director and Founder of Shamwari Village. She has worked in the world of nonprofits since moving to the US from her native South Africa in 2000. She has been a small business owner since 2009. Her business experience focused on fund development for nonprofits. She has done board training, fundraising, organized events, and written grants. To date, she has secured funding in excess of $15 million for her clients. Now, she is taking this experience and talent and applying it to Shamwari Village.
The competition for philanthropic dollars is immense. But the need for Shamwari Village is greater. This treatment/residence model will be an example for nonprofits countrywide and even abroad of how to maximize funding to achieve an environment that understands the needs of young women in despair.
Shamwari’s unique treatment model will address the whole person: mentally, physically, emotionally, vocationally, financially, socially and spiritually. Services and programs will be provided for the children of the women we serve. They will live with their mothers at Shamwari for up to two years.
Layne’s message is urgent: “Thousands of young women are dying every year because programs are either inadequate or a lack of funding hampers the delivery of stellar services and programs for a variety of reasons. Our homeless female vets and young women battling mental health and addiction challenges do not have the luxury of time. We must act NOW.”
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