Women’s Empowerment Programme
Refugee women have been particularly exposed to violence and abuse, both in countries of origin, in transit and after entering South Africa. This leaves many foreign women isolated and with enduring trauma. The impact of violence is perpetuated by xenophobia, lack of legal status in SA, language difficulties, and insufficient knowledge about services and resources to help them.
There is a profound need for refugee and migrant women (including survivors of violence) to have access to services and platforms where they can become empowered, individually and collectively, to address the harm, marginalisation and violence that they face. Women need opportunities where they can be brought out of the home to build confidence, heal from trauma, build positive relationships, and integrate with others, as well as increasing their awareness of South Africa’s constitutional framework, which recognises women’s rights and challenges patriarchal norms. This is significant, as these norms shape many refugee and migrant women’s perceptions of what they are entitled to, both within their families, and broader society. Beyond this, they need assistance in applying this knowledge to advocate for their rights and for the rights of others.
An 11-week psycho-social programme is run by registered counsellors together with trained peer counsellors.
Mid-term individual, couple or family trauma counselling is offered over a period of a minimum of 6 weeks.
Advocacy and assistance to expedite emergency interventions such as reporting incidents to the police, attending court procedures, and securing interdicts.
Emergency assessment and referrals for shelter, social services, and medical/psychiatric intervention.
Assistance with facilitating economic empowerment and independence, and referral for skills training.
Screening services for sexual and gender based violence and intimate partner violence.