Women walking away from GBV are learning skills to earn an income
Gender-based violence survivors benefit from skills development opportunities from Powa
When Puleng Makaba decided to go to People Opposed to Women Abuse (Powa) for support after suffering abuse at the hands of a loved one, she did not know that she would also benefit from skills development programmes that would help her obtain a driver’s licence.
Makaba is one of 21 survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) who have benefited from the programmes by acquiring a range of skills.
These programmes have enabled 10 of the women to get learner’s and driver’s licences, while 11 others acquired skills in wig making, nail care, and eyelash extensions.
Some of the women were accommodated at Powa’s East Rand and West Rand shelters. Others received counselling at the organisation’s branch offices in the south of Johannesburg.
Makaba said she went to Powa early this year to look for emotional support.
“When certain things happen in your life, you need someone to talk to. Powa was there and they were so welcoming.
“While I was attending counselling sessions, there was this opportunity to get skills. I chose to get a driver’s licence because I knew it would open doors for me.”
Makaba said since attending counselling at Powa, she was able to reclaim her life and put herself first.
“There was a time I thought I was crazy. I went to Powa to get a second opinion and I needed someone to assure me that I was not making things up.
“I felt like I was losing my mind. I am glad I went there. I am happy,” she said.
She has now learnt to love and appreciate herself.
“I felt I was worthless, but Powa gave me the assurance that I am worthy and I deserve a better life. Getting the driver’s licence helped me get back my confidence.”
She hopes to get a job and also get herself a car one day.
“Getting the driver’s licence has made my CV look interesting and better,” she said.
Thato Mogane, who worked in the beauty business for a number of years, said the training was beneficial to her as she learnt new techniques of doing nails, applying lashes and structuring wigs.
“I like how it also provided knowledge on how to market and run a beauty salon business.
“I learnt about branding, how to manage and clean your equipment, take care of your clients and the secret of having your own unique selling point to make your business special and stand out from the rest. Working in the beauty industry fulfils me because if you look good, you feel good,” she said.
Jeanette Sera, Powa’s acting executive director, said the skills the organisation provided to survivors of GBV were to enable them to generate an income.
“A large number of abused women supported by Powa are young, unemployed and unskilled, so struggle to make a living,” she said.
“Skills development opportunities are critical to enabling them to build their confidence, unleash their potential and earn an income. By having a greater degree of financial independence, they are less likely to return to their abusers because they can support themselves and their children.”