Today marks the end of Social Development Month, a month in which we celebrate government’s commitment to caring for and supporting the most vulnerable in society.
International Day for Older Persons on Sunday, 1 October, started Social Development Month. On this day, Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, called on citizens to create inclusive environments that cater to the well-being of elderly residents.
Throughout October, staff from the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) across the province have been busy with various programs to raise awareness about DSD services.
“The Department of Social Development serves those in society that are often forgotten: the abused, persons with disabilities, the elderly, neglected and at-risk children. It is not an easy task for those working on the ground in communities, such as social workers, social auxiliary workers, probation officers, child and youth care workers, community development practitioners, and more. I salute each and every one of these social service professionals who work tirelessly to support and care for the most vulnerable,” says Minister Fernandez.
On 26 October, Minister Fernandez joined staff from Kraaifontein and Eerste River when they took a group of gender-based violence (GBV) survivors to Table Mountain. This group are part of an on-going GBV program in Kraaifontein and Eerste River.
While on top of the mountain, DSD staff and a South African Police Services (SAPS) member gave presentations on safety, substance use disorders, self-care, and breast cancer awareness. For most of the women, it was their first time on Table Mountain. One of the women said: “I’ve lived in Cape Town all my life and have never been here. I feel so uplifted and happy that I can experience this, thank you to DSD for making this happen.”
“I commend the DSD staff from Kraaifontein and Eerste River for taking this unique approach to victim empowerment. It was certainly a first for me seeing a GBV program literally being taken to new heights. The day was about instilling a renewed sense of dignity, hope, and purpose in these women. As social work supervisor Ntombodidi Mletshe said: ‘We brought you here to show you that the sky is the limit. Your future is bright, so never give up.’
"Judging by the feedback from the ladies, they certainly felt empowered and motivated to pay forward what they are learning,” says Minister Fernandez.
For information about the provincial Department of Social Development’s services, visit any of our regional and local offices, or contact the DSD hotline 0800 220 250, or visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/social-development.