WHAT WE DO
The COVID-19 crisis has obviously had a very direct impact on how we work, but we are continuing to support our ladies through food parcels and catalogue orders, as well as weekly small group meetings via WhatsApp.
Every weekend, a group of mums and mums-to-be gather in Kayamandi and Cloetesville in Stellenbosch, South Africa. It’s a lively afternoon, with babies sleeping on laps, toddlers exploring the room and older children playing outside with our Little Voices volunteers, while women from different parts of Stellenbosch get to know and love each other.
Being mums ourselves, we realise the pressure of raising children, even in a stable environment. The women often come from backgrounds with little or no support and the better we get to know them, the more we’re inspired by their courage in taking care of their children while working (and often also studying). Our heart is to lend them support in every area where they need it – emotional, spiritual and practical.
Some sessions are practical workshops, where women share their skills and knowledge around things like childcare, nutrition, health and personal care.
Some meetings are more intimate gatherings where we simply chat, pray, share our stories (and drink coffee), building friendships across social and cultural lines.
As the group grew, we realised the need a more intimate space, so we now gather at ladies’ homes in smaller groups every second weekend. It’s a space to build deeper relationships and grow within a loving community.
By coming to Her Voice, the women are able to earn 10 points (worth R100) per session, which they can then exchange for necessities for themselves and their children from the catalogue.
THE UBOMI PROJECT
‘Ubomi’ means life in isiXhosa. In order to change the narrative of pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period from shame, pain and trauma, a team of doulas and doulas-in-training host monthly educational workshops, support women during birth and offer postpartum care home visits.
Another way our ladies can spend their points is when a trip to the clinic, doctor or dentist is needed. We are extremely grateful to have generous and kind professionals who give the ladies the treatment and attention they and their children deserve.
As the babies become toddlers and children, they need attention so that their mamas can get the most out of sessions and we have a wonderful team of volunteers that truly invests in them with love and care.
A big step toward the dream of handing Her Voice over to the ladies is our internship programme. The ladies are given organisational responsibilities and challenged to expand their view of their own potential. By the end of the three months they should feel more confident in managing their finances, taking risks to achieve their dreams and valuing their stories, using them to inspire others.