Women in the poor, underserved community of Mabopane, South Africa are battling a war of gender-based violence and femicide. The "Ikemele" women empowerment project provides free skills training, counselling & practical support to help survivors of GBV rise above their circumstances & become financially independent - the key to walking away from an abusive situation. With the tragic increase in partner violence during COVID, vulnerable women need hope and a second chance more than ever before.
Gender-based violence in our community is bred by a traditional culture of patriarchy and a lack of economic opportunities for women living in poverty. Throughout the pandemic, job losses, heightened financial strain, lockdown measures and throttled support services has taken the situation from bad to tragic - cases of gender-based violence have tripled since March 2020. Women are trapped at home with abusive partners, afraid to speak up and with little opportunity to forge a life of their own.
Intervening in the lives of woman who have survived abuse with group and one-on-one counselling provides them with a sense of hope and restored confidence, as well as a platform to build sustainable support networks. Equipping them further with skills, access to employment and assistance starting small businesses sets them on a path to financial independence - the number one reason why vulnerable women feel trapped and unable to walk away from their abuser.
When an empowered woman earns an income, not only is she safer and more independent, her family and community strengthen, too. Cultivating women as leaders and fostering economic activity is a movement towards a community with reduced domestic violence, strengthened social justice, and better opportunities for our youth. Our holistic program meets vulnerable women where they are and supports them on their journey to a life of restored strength and hope - then able to show others the way, too.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).