A group of women from Mitchell’s Plain is taking a stand against the gangsterism and drugs plaguing the area and plan to make a difference by uniting the women in their community.
City of Peace Woman of Honour is a community initiative, being run in association with non-profit organisation Beulah Services. Woman of Honour aims to bring honour back to households within communities where drugs and gangsterism are rife. One of the founders of this initiative, Frederika Groepies, 48, said: “Right now there’s no control in the houses,” adding that “there’s so much focus on the drug rehabilitation centres, but so little support and assisstance for the mothers.”
Another founder of the initiative, Shakeena Carelse, said her husband had a vision that led to its creation. Ms Carelse, 34, said her husband Richard Fanga, 44, had his vision around September last year. “He told me that God has shown him this vision of the youth that’s going to protest,” she said, and added that her husband had told her to go and help women who were facing difficulties.
“He explained to me that I need to come together with a group of women, so that we can gather the women in the community who are struggling and facing these things.”
The official launch of Woman of Honour will take place from Friday to Sunday July 15 to 17 at Portland Indoor Centre. There will be guest speakers, as well as people sharing their experience of having overcome difficulties.
“We will be using people whohave been through these things, that the people can relate to,” Ms Carelse said.
The main focus of the launch, she said, is to provide encouragement for women and their families.
The City’s mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, Suzette Little, will be a guest speaker at the launch.
But the Woman of Honour initiative isn’t limited only to women from Mitchell’s Plain.
They’ve also reached out to women in Hanover Park and Manenberg.
Once the launch has taken place, they will get together every Sunday, with couselling for the mothers and other family members being provided during the week.
“We will see what the struggle is within the houses so that we can see how we can assist them,” said Ms Carelse.
All these services are free.
They are also recruiting members for their choir. “We want to attract the youth mainly, because it’s also going to keep them off the street,” Ms Carelse said.
Anyone from age 14 can join. “It doesn’t even matter how cranky your voice is; just come,” she said.
Ms Carelse said that they’ve let some people in the community know about Woman of Honour and they’re excited. “People are excited, they can’t wait to see what’s going to take place,” she said.
Ms Groepies advised anyone who is tackling tough social issues not to give up. “Whatever you’re struggling with, don’t give up. Because the struggles that we go through in life, can only make us stronger and when we’re stronger we can help somebody else,” she said.