GBV survivors supported by People Opposing Women Abuse

Johannesburg- People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) recently ran a range of skills development programmes, supported by the organisation, for 21 Gender-Based violence survivors supported by the organisation.

This enabled 10 of them to get learners and driving licences – code 10, while 11 others have benefited from gaining skills in wig making, nailcare and eyelash extension.

Jeanette Sera, POWA’s Acting Executive Director, says the organisation provides various skills development programmes to GBV survivors to enable them to generate an income.

“A large number of abused women supported by POWA are young, unemployed and/or unskilled, so struggle to make a living,” she said.

“Skills development opportunities are critical to enabling them to build their confidence, unleash their potential and earn an income.  By having a greater degree of financial independence, they are less likely to return to their abusers because they can support themselves and their children.”

Over the years, women across the country have fallen victim to being raped, robbed and trafficked by men offering them fake job opportunities. By providing women with skills to assist them to make a living, they are less likely to be lured by promises of employment that put them in danger.

Funding to enable these 21 GBV survivors to get their driving licences and various skills in beauty therapy was provided by HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services institutions.

Mirriam Mulaudzi, the owner of Khubeka Driving School on the Vaal and the Shumani Driving School in Soweto, said having a licence empowers GBV survivors to pursue a better life after abuse because it betters their chances of finding employment in various fields. It also gives them the opportunity to generate an income by becoming Uber or Bolt drivers.

Puleng Makaba (31), a GBV survivor who received counselling at the POWA Evaton office, is one of the women to benefit from this initiative.

She is currently unemployed and feels that having a licence will increase her chances of finding a job in office administration.

“I put my whole heart into getting my driving licence,” she said. “Driving lessons are expensive and there’s no way I would have been able to afford them as I’m not working. I’m truly grateful to have been given this big opportunity.”

A survivor who stayed at POWA’s East Rand Shelter has now also got her licence, which is a stepping stone towards fulfilling her goal of pursing a career in tourism.

“Getting my licence has really built my confidence. My ex-partner called me useless and said I couldn’t do anything. Now I know I’m none of those things. Before I put all my time and efforts into him and my kids. Now I get to develop myself which I really appreciate.”

Through training provided by Carol Monstho, the founder and owner of Rabboni Beauty Salon in Johannesburg, the 11 survivors were taught to make full cap wigs, mesh wigs and side part wigs, how to do acrylic and gel nails as well as eyelash extensions. Additionally, they were empowered with marketing tips, gaining valuable insights on various issues like producing pamphlets and videos to promote a beauty salon business and the importance of staying on top of new trends.

One survivor, staying at a POWA shelter, has just come out of a financially and emotionally abusive 30-year marriage. Having recently qualified as an estate agent, she says the beauty skills training will assist her to earn an income during periods when she doesn’t make property sales.

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