Home News Graduation brings hope after gender-based violence

Graduation brings hope after gender-based violence

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Thirty-two women from Kimberley, Ritchie and Barkly West graduated from the Godishanang Empowerment Programme.

Seen from left are: Executive director of Nyamukara Empowerment, Elelwane Pahlana, graduate Amber-Jade Seekoei, founder of Women to Women, Priscilla Smith, and chairperson of Women to Women, Thami Seekoei. Picture: Danie van der Lith

GENDER-based violence is happening all around us all the time, and it is especially directed against women and young girls.

We often hear about it on the news, as well as in our own communities, and yet, the tragedy is that it is possible that the majority of attacks, assaults and violence occurs in secret, behind closed doors.

We have heard of women and children being beaten, raped, demoralised, and often killed at the hands of men, the same men that are supposed to love and protect them. Statistics suggest that it is usually men who are closest to the victims that are the abusers.

Fathers, boyfriends, and brothers lift their hands and beat women, breaking down the emotional well-being of women to the extent that they feel hopeless and unloved. It is a sad reality that so many women and girls have to live with this threat constantly hanging over their heads. Victims have to carry emotional scars every day of their lives, and the emotional damage caused by the assault can be staggering to contemplate.

But there is hope.

Nyamukara Empowerment is a registered non-profit company with a focus on the socio-economic development of communities in South Africa, with specific attention on women, the youth, and persons with disabilities.

The organisation has initiated the Godishanang Empowerment Programme, a gender equity and empowerment initiative, focused on supporting women survivors of gender-based violence. Godishanang, meaning “build each other”, has been running for four years and the point of departure of the programme is that everybody has the ability to learn.

Women benefiting from the programme live in shelters and they receive psychological support, learn sewing skills through a three-month accredited training programme and they attend workshops where they learn basic financial and business literacy.

The programme also seeks to facilitate dialogues to address the root causes and ultimately find ways of preventing gender-based violence.

The aim is to help women to empower themselves and acquire skills that will open opportunities which will enable them to become financially independent citizens, and independent drivers of sustainable and economically viable entrepreneurial initiatives.

The Godishanang Empowerment Programme is aligned with and supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s Orange Day Campaign to end violence against women and girls, which calls upon activists, governments, and UN partners to mobilise and highlight issues relevant to ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, but also on the 25th of every month.

As part of Nyamukara Empowerment’s commitment to supporting non-violence against women and girls, the company has launched the Godishanang Empowerment Programme in Koloni (Queenstown), Eastern Cape with the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development and they currently have 25 women survivors of gender-based violence shelters.

Nyamukara Empowerment strongly believes that through the Godishanang Empowerment Programme’s training and support, the women who participate in the initiative will benefit greatly from being capacitated, skilled, and empowered through the accredited training provided.

On Wednesday afternoon 32 women from Kimberley, Ritchie and Barkly West graduated from the Godishanang Empowerment Programme. These graduates finished a 50-day accredited training programme where they learned a variety of sewing skills. Graduates were trained on how to make various types of garments.

During their graduation ceremony each woman presented an outfit that they had made themselves. Picture: Danie van der Lith

This became obvious when, during their graduation ceremony, each graduate modelled an outfit that they made themselves, to show the skills they had acquired during their training.

Each graduate received the sewing machine that they worked on, as well as an overlocker, an iron, and an ironing board. They were also given a fabric pack to get them started in their new venture.

On Wednesday afternoon 32 women from Kimberley, Ritchie and Barkly West graduated from the Godishanang Empowerment Programme. Picture: Danie van der Lith
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