On 1 September, Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, joined a group of women in Atlantis for a Women’s Month celebration.
The event was originally planned as a Women’s Day event for 8 August 2023, but had to be postponed due to the minibus taxi strike.
The event was one of celebration, hope, and empowerment which wasmade sweeter by the delicious servings of cake and tea!
The Western Cape Department of Social Development’s (WCDSD) Atlantis office launched a women’s empowerment project during the month of August. This project aims to empower single mothers from different socio-economic backgrounds by making them aware of opportunities for long-term sustainability.
Through empowering these mothers, the hope is that they will do the same for others in their community, creating widespread change.
The 12-month project is thanks to partnerships with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the City of Cape Town (CoCT), the National Youth Development Agency, Basic Package of Support, National Business Institute, Community Colleges, and West Coast College. These partners were at the event to inform the women of the different skills development and job opportunities available.
WCDSD also informed them of the services it provides, including helpful parenting tips.
Provincial Minister Fernandez told the women in Atlantis: “My wish for you is that this project instills renewed hope and opens a new world of possibility for you and your family, and ultimately spurs you on to become changemakers in your community.
Because that is what we need more of - changemakers. Government cannot address socio-economic issues, like unemployment, on its own. We need to partner with you, the residents, NGOs, and the private sector if we are to make a meaningful difference.”
Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger says: “The Western Cape Government is working hard to empower many more women through the numerous programmes. The fact is we need Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises to succeed because they are the backbone of our economy and are responsible for up to 70% of jobs in South Africa. More than this, the research is clear on the positive impact of women-owned businesses, as well as ensuring gender parity in the workforce. So more than being fair and just, there is a clear economic case for enabling, supporting, and driving the participation of women in business.”
Friday’s event was not the only one WCDSD held to close Women’s Month. On 31 August, the Department held a joint Gender-Based Violence awareness event in Khayelitsha with the CoCT, the South African Police Service, FNB, and NGOs: FAMSA, Mosaic, Nonceba, Mthonjeni, Thuthuzela Care Centre, NACOSA, Rape Crisis, Sikhula Sonke, and Simameleni.
200 women received information about available resources related to parenthood, physical and emotional wellbeing, women’s health, and services available from the government and NGOs.
The Department of Social Development is committed to strengthening partnerships between government departments, NPOs, and civil society so that women are aware of all the services available to them and empowered.