Minister Fernandez visits St. Anne’s Homes shelter for abused women and children
Today, 8 August 2019, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, visited the St. Anne's Homes in commemoration of Women’s Day taking place on the 9th of August.
St. Anne’s Homes is a non-governmental organization under the patronage of the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of South Africa. There are fourteen staff members and a management board elected because of their ability, involvement and positive contribution to the upliftment and empowerment of women and young children who have been abused.
St. Anne’s originated in 1904 (115 years old), when a group of women from the Anglican Church worked together to obtain a house for any woman or girl in need.
During discussions with the women at the shelter Minister Fernandez said: “ To each and every woman here today, I call on you to instil in yourself and others the values of bravery, commitment to change and personal development, an excellent work ethic and a commitment to feminism, the belief of gender equality. Rather than seeking the validation of men, we must affirm one another.”
The facility currently accommodates 21 women with young children who would have landed up on the street, were it not for the shelter.
Once women exit the home, there are two extra stages where women are given support before being able to be completely independent and self-reliant.
In June 2005, St. Anne’s started a skills training programme where the women are offered various workshops to grow confidence and become more self-sustainable.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development, through its Victim Empowerment Programme, is responsible for providing victim support services that include safe and secure accommodation, psycho-social support and empowerment of victims of crime and violence.
DSD currently funds 16 shelters in the Western Cape that can accommodate victims and their children up to 3 months, and 4 emergency shelters that accommodate victims for up to two weeks. Furthermore, the existing shelter funding model consists of unit cost, security, skills development and a social work/ social auxiliary work post. DSD has spent R25 million on the shelters during 2019/20.
“Celebrating Women’s Day and Women’s Month should not be about viewing women as ‘helpless victims’, as South African women are strong, resilient and the bedrock of our society,” says Minister Fernandez.
Minister Sharna Fernandez, remains committed to gender-equality and the empowerment of women, which can only be achieved through collaborated efforts, involving various stakeholders in society.