Young women from Mitchell’s Plain, who have come through the Young Women and Girls Project, are starting their own businesses, finding employment and getting their drivers’ licences.
The project was launched in 2016 with the help of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and the provincial Department of Health, and it was funded by the Global Fund. It’s aim was to address issues which increased young women’s risk of abuse, dependency on abusers as well as the risk of contracting HIV.
On Wednesday March 6, two days before the celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday March 8, young women and girls from across the Cape Flats met in celebration of what they had achieved, through the project, at Hope Again Recovery Home, in Woodlands.
Marche Snyders, 23, from Montrose Park, who had completed Grade 10, has her hopes set on getting a bursary to complete school and passing her driver’s licence test.
She started the programme in July last year. Since then, she said, her self-confidence had improved, she felt more prepared the job market, and she had learned about sexual and reproductive health issues.
Faiza Abrahams, 23, from Portland, said she was going for job interviews at call centres and that following the programme, she had improved her curriculum vitae (CV).
Matriculant Qudsiyyah Abrahams, 20, left her job in administration and was bored at home, when she decided attend the year-long programmes, Economic Strengthening and Women of Worth.
Kauthar Magmoed, 21, from Tafelsig, encouraged other young women to take advantage of opportunities to better themselves.
“These programmes are there
to uplift and for women to encourage each other not to give up,” she said.
Facilitator Gadija Majal, 24, from Grassy Park, who has a postgraduate diploma in disability studies, said it had been phenomenal to see the girls mature and “come into their own”.
“When we see people sitting or stagnating in their situations that does not mean they have to stay there. We can help them to get, where they want to be,” she said.
Levy Wagner, 22, from Eastridge, was employed by the foundation when she completed her programme and now works at Lentegeur clinic, where she can help other young women access basic health services, including family planning and sexual health.
Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo encouraged the girls to be independent and to know the strength within themselves.
“Don’t fall into love because of desperation. Once you’re on the floor – he’ll leave you there. Walk into love because you love yourself,” she said.
“Yes, negative things can and will happen, it is part of life, but know that you have the strength within you to overcome it,” said Dr Mbombo.