One of the most respected activists in the country said she hopes the global recognition she has been given will inspire other African women to speak out about their challenges.
Western Cape’s Lucinda Evans is the only South African to make it onto the BBC Top 100 list of inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019.
As the founder of Philisa Abafazi Bethu, a non-profit organisation that is making a real difference in the lives of hundreds of people on the Cape Flats, Evans has done outstanding work in protecting women and children from violence.
Philisa Abafazi Bethu was established in 2008 in Lavender Hill and has since spread its work to various other communities where women and children are at risk.
Evans said she started the organisation after witnessing a shocking incident on the streets of Lavender Hill. “I witnessed a crowd gathering around a man beating his wife. People were watching, yet no one was doing anything to stop the violence. This kick-started my dream of protecting and empowering abused women and children,” Evans explained.
Today, the organisation offers a number of child and youth protection programmes, as well as programmes geared towards empowering women.
Programmes to support and uplift children and youth include an after-school programme for at-risk boys and girls, a youth programme that teaches essential life skills and improves overall wellbeing, and a summer surfing programme that gives children a chance to enjoy a new and fun activity.
“The children’s programmes aim at providing children with a safe environment to develop and create everlasting positive friendships,” Evans said.
The women empowerment programmes range from supporting older, vulnerable women through group workshops and outings to providing parenting skills to mothers; offering support groups to women and providing court support in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases.
The organisation’s Baby Saver programme allows helpless mothers to bring in unwanted babies, who are then directly transferred to medical care to check if the baby is unharmed. This is followed by contacting social workers to handle the case.
Evans is co-ordinating the One Billion Rising campaign in Caledon. She and other activists will engage with community leaders, police and social development officials to find GBV solutions.
*For more information about Philisa Abafazi Bethu, call 081 746 9889, WhatsApp 084 521 2897 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.