Great things happen when a partnership is formed between the private sector, government and civil society. There is opportunity for change, growth, empowerment and success- and this is exactly what has happened since the launch of the Orange Day Campaign in November of 2015. Edcon, in collaboration with The UN entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment, The Gauteng Department of Social development, The Department of Community Safety and The South African Fashion Council, brought fifty women survivors of violence together and, for the past 6 months, have helped empower these women through skills development in sewing, fashion design and product development. Mentorship has been the name of the game with the survivors being mentored by some of South Africa’s top fashion designers such as Vanya Mangaliso of Sun Godess, JJ Schoeman, Lesego Malatsi and David Tlale to name but a few.
I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘follow-up’ event held at the Turbine Hall yesterday afternoon. Speakers from across the board delved deeper into what these women have created in the last 6 months. 50 women from 5 different shelters have taken an active stand in putting an end to the violence in their lives. These women are our sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces and daughters and each and every one of them are survivors to the largest extent. Gender based violence transcends culture, class, race and age. It has become a societal issue and to see big companies and the government taking responsibility is really encouraging.
The atmosphere was bursting with pride as each women, some whom have never even sewn before, got to set up a pop up store to sell their uniquely South African Garments. This is so much more than a program as a program has a start and finish, this is a process and being able to witness the progress within this process gives me so much hope for the women of this country. And if the afternoon couldn’t get any better the lovely Francina Ntsimane of the South African Fashion Council announced their ongoing support by helping these women become part of the mainstream fashion industry by training them further and assisting them form a corporative. This was huge news as these women will become influential creatives in their own right.
As the African saying goes ‘ When you educate a man you educate an individual. When you educate a woman you educate a family, a community, a nation‘. Exciting things are happening and hopefully Big Bad Wolf will be able to keep you up to date with all the progress. For now, go and sign your name here and be part of an ongoing cause around the world.
If you are a victim of abuse and need help please contact:
People Opposing Woman Abuse ( POWA) Helpline: 083 765 1235
Child-Line South Africa: 24-hour toll-free Helpline: 08000 55 555
SAMSOA Helpline: 071 280 9918