The thinking behind the initiative is that by providing survivors with skills to generate an income, they are more likely to speak out and report abuse if they ever experience it again because they aren’t financially dependent on their abusers.
Thandiwe McCloy, Powa’s communications manager, says many women are stuck in abusive relationships because they depend on the perpetrator to survive.
“Having skills assists them to break the cycle of abuse, grow their confidence, unleash their potential and develop hope in the future,” she adds.
“I’m happy the first group of survivors have completed their training. Some service providers have offered to provide ongoing mentorship, which is great.”
Women throughout the country have fallen victim to being robbed, raped, and trafficked by men offering them fake job interviews. By providing women with know-how to make a living, either through finding employment or starting their own small businesses, they are less likely to be lured by job promises that put them in danger.
With South Africa’s official unemployment rate at 35.3% according to Statistics South Africa, attaining skills is critical to empowering women to become self-employed and thereby better protect themselves.
Through this nationwide initiative, running until the end of the year, GBV survivors are gaining knowledge on doing make-up, wig-making, nailcare, and eyelash extensions, learning to drive and attaining sewing, baking, computer and HIV lay counselling skills.
Beneficiaries of the programme are abused women who’ve received counselling at Powa offices and at various NGOs that Powa has partnered with through the #EndDomesticSilence initiative. These NGOs, all based in GBV hotspots, include Ubuhle Bobunye Bomanyano in Gauteng, On Eagles Wings in the Eastern Cape, Banna Ba Kae in the North West Province, Bushbuckridge Youth Development Organisation in Mpumalanga, Batho Ba Lerato in the Free State, and Nhlayiso Community Health and Counselling Centre in Limpopo, among others.
In addition to providing survivors supported by these organisations with skills, the partnership has also included training them on numerous aspects of domestic violence and hosting Healing Days where GBV survivors share their experiences of abuse and how they rose above them.
The second group, made up of 47 survivors, recently started their training. There are 100 more survivors countrywide who will be empowered by gaining skills through the #EndDomesticSilence initiative.