A joint skills, training and economic opportunity programme in the Western Cape is expected to help abused women break the cycle of economic dependence from their abusers.
Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz and Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde launched the Women’s Empowerment Initiative on Friday during a joint visit to the Sister Incorporated shelter for women.
The initiative will provide skills, training and economic opportunities to 310 women currently with the departments’ 16 funded shelters for abused women.
A referral pathway will be developed through the Department of Social Development’s Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP).
Through this joint initiative, the Western Cape Government seeks to help abused women to become economically independent from the very persons who may be abusing them.
The initiative will achieve this by empowering women with the skills and training that enables them to find employment or start their own businesses.
The Departments of Economic Development and Tourism and Agriculture will establish a link to Social Development and the network of shelters.
Speaking at the launch, MEC Winde said this partnership will create a pathway to economic opportunities for women at shelters.
He said their number one goal is the creation of opportunities for growth and jobs, adding that they are committed to expanding access to the departments’ programmes to all residents.
“Through this initiative, I would like to see us connecting more residents to facilities such as our Barn Khayelitsha and the ICAN (Interactive Community Access Network) centre in Elsies River.
“To ensure that aspiring businesswomen have access to the support they need, we will also link them to our Emerging Business Support Programme. It is my hope that we are able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the women and their families,” Winde said.
The Department of Social Development has a growing network of 16 funded shelters across the province, and invests R31.7 million in services for victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking.
Gender-based violence victims can call the toll free number on 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV) and will be able to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling. Callers can also request a social worker from the command centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from a cell phone. – SAnews.gov.za