Working for Peace and Healing

“Being with the Gender Links project with WWSOSA and KZNVAW has broadened my understanding of the needs & issues of my community.”

I am a volunteer councillor at the Wentworth Victim Friendly centre (SAPS Trauma Unit) based at Wentworth SAPS working with abused women men and children. Ever since becoming involved with GL I have fine-tuned my ability to counsel in a more professional manner. I am now able to empathise with the survivors of abuse.

I deal with various cases that can range from different abuses, eg sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, and bullying at schools also counselling those who were survivors of hijacking, house-jacking, suicides.

When I was first introduced to the project, I had no idea what GBV was all about but was eager to learn about anything that could improve and enhance the work I currently do as a counsellor.

My light bulb moment through this project: It has made me aware & excited that there is much more out there than just being in an office, I am now able to do referrals to different NPOs and NGOs and go into my community to offer talks on GBV and sometimes get told that we only do talks on Women & not men.

Funds were non-existent in my current volunteer position. Now that there are funds available from GL, I’m able to meet some financial needs of cases that I deal with. We are able to provide them with a light meal, toiletries, school uniforms & transport money.

Cookie Edwards has been a pillar of strength and is well connected with numerous organisations. We were able to get training through UNISA, Lifeline, Child Line, Bobby Bear. Because we liaise closely with them, SAPS assist with vehicles in getting our cases to various destinations. Child Welfare is awesome; they run when we need them to remove kids.

My spouse, who is a pastor, responds positively in assisting also with transportation should the need arise. Some come in with no hope and are suicidal, we pray, counsel and prevent them complete what they had planned and in few months or weeks, they bring others for help. The word of mouth is the way we have become known. Some women who have left school due to early pregnancy have got enrolled in evening adult classes at our school. Some are now assistant educators in local schools and some have opened crèches.

A challenge is the empty promises from some organisations, government officials, who make promises to us & do not keep them. We overcome this by bringing in our own resources in whichever way we can.

My future plan is to bring peace in our communities where our people may be rehabilitated. More adult, education programs, more funding to help us continue to do the work in excelling in what we do. More funding more volunteers to come on board as to help feed their families. More facilities to keep our youth off the street. More job opportunities.