Survivors of abuse help others rise

Survivors involved in the Rise programme are using their strength to make a difference for the less fortunate.

The initiative, by GRIP, offers survivors of sexual assault various ways to empower themselves to prevent gender-based violence and HIV/Aids infection.

In total, 2 161 young women and girls have been enrolled in the programme since April 2017.

ALSO READ:GRIP’s safe haven of help and peace
Lucky Thusi from GRIP said some of the members were once beneficiaries or survivors who were reached through the care-room intervention.

“These young women were exposed to extremely high levels of vulnerability from various social ills. Some of them have one or two babies due to the high risks of teenage pregnancy, some are orphaned and others come from less-fortunate families living with unemployed parents.

Due to their backgrounds, some of them live with their boyfriends.”

They have taken their experience and used it to empower themselves so that they can make a difference in the lives of others.

“Every day after school the Buffelspruit Rise Club helps children with their schoolwork and spends time with them. The members from Matsulu assist an elderly man called Babe Shongwe (65), who has diabetes and high blood pressure.

ALSO READ:GRIP in desperate need of your donations

They cook for him, clean and spend time with him since he does not socialise. Shongwe is disabled, wheelchair-bound and struggles to get by. They also hand out sanitary towels to women living with disabilities,” Thusi elaborated.

As part of helping the young women, about 203 of them are enrolled with TVETs and universities.

“We help them with bursary applications and seek financial assistance from the government. We are trying to change the mindset of relying on elderly men for money.

Some of these men infect them with HIV/Aids while they tolerate it because they want money. Furthermore, we feel education will change that. When they are educated they can rely on themselves and they will have a bright future that is not limited by diseases,” Thusi said.

  AUTHOR
Bridget Mpande

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