Nancy Richards, presenter of SAfm’s Otherwise radio show, is about to embark on a 320-kilometre walk to help raise desperately needed funds for the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Manenberg, Cape Town.
The Centre, renowned for its work with abused women and children, faces closure as funding dries up. But Richards and her friend, Odette Halliford, are determined to contribute towards the annual R4-million in operational costs that it needs to continue its work.
“My friend Odette Halliford and I will be walking part of the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage in Spain to raise funds for the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Cape Town,” Richards posted on her Back a Buddy page.
“The Centre is a real haven for women – at any one time they care for, feed, support, counsel and offer skills to approximately 30 women and up to 50 children until they can get back on their feet. To give you an idea of the need, they turn away up to 20 women on a daily basis. Their limited funds don’t allow them to take more,” she says.
“We’re starting the walk on May 21 and plan to cover 318 kilometres in two weeks. All proceeds will go direct to the Saartjie Baartman Centre. Thanks for caring.”
The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children provides free shelter, legal and counselling services, job-training programmes and other resources to abused women and their children. As one of the shelter residents says, “The Centre is for abused women. But it shouldn’t be called “for abused women”! This is the only place where there is never any abuse against women – it’s against abused women!”
In 2011 alone, over 4 000 women and children drew upon their services. “Going public with our plight is our last hope as a final appeal to keep the centre open and functioning in 2012,” says Synnov Skorge, director of the Centre. “Empty promises on from political parties and government, a dysfunctional justice system and lack of resources, creates a harsh everyday reality,” she said. “If we do not bring in the money required, women will be left homeless and vulnerable, they will simply have nowhere to go.”
Skorge has challenged stakeholders to stop talking and takes some action.
“Government needs to come more fully to the party and assist with their commitment to fighting women and child violence. We invite Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance and the ANC to put their money where their mouths are; it’s time for them to retake the opportunity to creating rights as realities.”