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Networking and collaboration to celebrate Women’s Day

Through NACOSA’s network, the Yes We Can Foundation and the Mpower Menstrual Cup Project collaborated to donate 100 hand-made blankets and menstrual cups to the Saartjie Baartman Centre in celebration of Women’s Month.

Saartjie Baartman is one of the largest centres in the country to provide emergency shelter, counselling, mental health support, jobs skills training, legal advice and childcare services to 120 women and children survivors of gender-based violence. The centre recently lost a large amount of its belongings and blankets in a devastating fire and reached out for help.

“We lost so much in last year’s fire and it’s taken a long time to recover from such a huge loss, that’s why we were so happy to receive a call from Sharon and NACOSA to say that they can connect us with help. It gets incredibly cold in the winter and it may look like a little but these blankets will help us a lot. Thank you for this generous contribution” said Saartjie Baartman Director, Bernadine Bachar.

The collaboration aims to address the holistic needs of the women at the centre by providing sustainable and affordable solutions to women’s menstrual health and basic needs. To cut costs and offer more affordable products, the Yes We Can Foundation re-purposes material and fabric donated from larger clothing retailers to make their products and blankets. The Foundation will collaborate further with the centre on a sewing project that will empower the women with skills and an opportunity to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses. In addition to upskilling women, the Foundation will also empower them with sustainable income and business skills.

Maria, who lost her job as a domestic worker due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 received sewing training through the Yes We Can Foundation and says it has changed her life:

“Through the training, I became someone and I was able to support my family. I am currently building our family home and it is all because of this training. I feel recognised and seen because I do what I love and earn more than I did before – I am a proud breadwinner.”

To turn the tide on unacceptably high levels of violence against women in South Africa, all sectors of society need to work together. One of NACOSA’s main aims is to facilitate networking and collaboration between organisations, movements, donors, government, institutions and business to help build strong, equal, healthy communities. This small but impactful collaboration is part of a bigger movement towards this aim.

By Lerato Kau, Communications Officer