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Plan to break cycle of economic dependence

Written by Sulaiman Philip
Two Western Cape provincial departments have partnered in a ground-breaking women empowerment initiative.

Two provincial departments are working together to give abused women a chance to create economic opportunities for themselves.

The Women’s Empowerment Initiative run by the Western Cape departments of social development and economic opportunities will begin providing skills training and economic opportunities to 310 women presently housed in 16 women’s shelters.

Speaking at the Sisters Incorporated Shelter in Cape Town, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said the province wanted abuse victims to become economically independent from the people who were abusing them. “We will achieve this by empowering women with skills and training that enables them to find employment or start their own businesses.”

Providing support and skills

The initiative will add to the work of shelters in providing a safe space for women to escape abuse and rebuild their lives. It will be through this network that the province will give them access to training and business opportunities, through the Victim Empowerment Programme.

As the programme grows, MEC Winde says he hopes it can be used to encourage other women to seek assistance. “Through this initiative, I would like to see us connecting more residents to facilities such as our Barn Khayelitsha and the ICAN [Interactive Community Access Network] centre in Elsies River.

“To ensure that aspiring businesswomen have access to the support they need, we will also link them to our Emerging Business Support Programme (EBSP). It is my hope that we are able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the women and their families,” Winde said. The EBSP is a two-day course covering business strategy, operations strategy and financial literacy development.