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Having identified a desperate need to: alleviate poverty, educate and assist women and children with issues of women and child abuse, educate youths and parents regarding substance abuse and educate the community with issues regarding HIV / AIDS in synergy with community development, THE ACTIVE WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION comprising of ten powerful and dedicated women was formed on 24 September 2005.
The small group of dedicated and committed women have harnessed their combined strength and organised themselves into a non-profit profit community based organisation. The following key priority areas have been identified in their communities which have a devastating impact on the feminisation of poverty:
1. Poverty alleviation
2. Empowerment and development
3. Job creation
4. Counselling for drug relating issues
5. Abused women and children.
6. Educating and counselling on HIV / AIDS
7. Senior Citizens Support
8. Adult basic education
9. Anti Depression and Anxiety support group
10. Feeding schemes
11. Youth Development
It is against this background that the Active Women’s Association have executed various projects with the aim of achieving its objectives. One of these projects being the launch of feeding schemes supported by individuals and businesses in the area.
The first feeding scheme was on Sunday, 30 October 2005, in the Westcliff Low Income Residential Complex, more commonly known as ‘Bangladesh’. The majority of the residents are under-privileged and in desperate need for major attention in all facets mentioned above. Hence this area was identified as the pilot beneficiary area. The aim is to make a contribution towards reversing the cycle of poverty and in doing so address some of the massive socio economic challenges commonly associated with low income residential areas.
With the assistance of private sector, The Active Women’s Association conduct regular feeding programmes and prepare meals for more than 800 people at a time. We wish that we could feed the community on a more frequent basis, but all our projects are done via sponsorship and a project -by -project basis. This project is entirely dependant on private sector support. Since the launch of the project, The Active Women’s Association has distributed free food to areas across Kwa-Zulu Natal.
SELF DEFENCE TRAINING PROGRAMMES
Sufficient research available proves that women who reside in communities with a high poverty rate, are more susceptible to abuse. In consideration of preventative measures and with the assistance of senior SAPS personnel, The Active Women’s Association launched a Self Defence Course. The classes were held every Tuesday from 7 to 8 pm at the Body Active Gym (Samson Perumal) in Chatsworth in conjunction with inspector Derek Chetty of the SAPS Chatsworth. The response we had from the women were amazing. After completion of the course, the women were more informed about their surroundings and more alert. Furthermore, the ladies who attended now had new ideas about how to control their emotions in dangerous situations, e.g. hijacking, robbery, etc.
From this initiative the ‘Blow the Whistle on Crime’ campaign was formed. The aim of this campaign was to get the community to stand together and to speak with one voice against crime in the community. This campaign was very effective. Members of the community became more aware of their possessions as well as watch over their neighbours. The community formed one common bond, safety for themselves and families. Radio Station Lotus Fm took an interest in our cause and we were given free airtime to broadcast on a peak time programme ‘NEWS BREAK’.
In May each year, The Active Women’s Association Hosts its Mother’s Day Evening, where we take the underprivileged, lonely, depressed mothers and treat them for an evening, providing them with a variety of meals prepared by the Active Women members. Gifts are sponsored, with our main sponsor being Lever Ponds. Lever Ponds has always come in to assist with beautiful gift sets, make up creams and shower gels, etc. Everything you need to make a women feel special. The mother’s always leave the evening feeling loved, needed and happy.
CHRISTMAS ROAD SHOW
On 17 December 2005, the Active Women’s Association held their first Christmas Road Show. The event is funded entirely by the private sector. The ladies worked tirelessly for months ahead of the event. The event was a great success, as the association was able to secure sponsorship from East Coast Radio toy story, who sponsored over 500 toys to the children of the area as well as the other sponsors, i.e. Take ‘n Pay in unit 3, Killers wholesalers, Ebrahim’s Quality Meats, United Bags Sales, Dr Kumarie Govender, Att Daniel Vengtas & Associates and members of the community who contributed in cash and kind help to make the event a successful and joyful one.
Although this event took a lot of preparation months in advance, we had taken a decision to host this event annually. The joy it brought to the children in the area was priceless. The entire community was fed. We entertained the community for the day and gave away prizes, party packs, food and best of all every child left with a minimum of one toy.
Since then The Active Women’s Christmas Road show has become an annual event. New and old sponsors came to the party to ensure the children in the Westcliff Flats area were left with excellent memories at that very trying time of the year. This year we will be hosting our 5th Annual Road Show. This event is set to be bigger and better than the previous years.
In September 2007, The Active Women’s Association launched the opening of a Senior Citizens Club in the area. This Senior Citizens Club is free of charge, with no monthly fees whatsoever. The Active Women had seen a dire need for the senior citizens in the area to find some comfort with people of their own age to meet, spend time away from their troubles, learn to read, write, draw, learn to bead, play ball, talk about their problems, fill the gap of loneliness and be fed for the day. Since then, it is held every Wednesday at Lotus primary school. The class is growing at every meeting. This is just another initiative that the Active Women are proud to be a part of. A gigantic thanks to all our sponsors who have so unselfishly sponsored us every Wednesdays for our Senior Citizens.
We are encouraging businesses to sponsor the Senior Citizens a vehicle, so that they can be fetched for their meetings and we can then embark on taking them on excursions as most of them have never left the area.
Late 2007, The Active Women’s Association became a registered Non profit Organisation. This gave the Active Women motivation to take the community in their own hands. Hence, our biggest project, The Active Women’s Community Care Centre.
The Active Women is constantly approached by members of the public for assistance, in domestic violence issues, child abuse, drug abuse and HIV / Aids issues. The problem that we are faced with is that we don’t have a place where we can hold meetings in private with different individuals with different problems.
The Active Women’s Association envisage the Community Care Centre to be a place of hope for the community at all levels. It must be a place where a person with HIV / Aids can be educated and counselled and treated, or ladies with domestic violence and child abuse issues will have a place to go to for help.
The community care centre brings a lot of responsibility. Active Women’s Association will take on the responsibility, commitment and management of the centre. We seek assistance from businesses to help build the Community Care Centre and we can always work out media coverage in return together with rights and responsibilities.
The Active women are so keen on this idea that we are not even looking at a centre made of brick. The centre can be built from wood e.g. a Wendy House. But it must be a huge Wendy house to accommodate at least 30 to 50 people at any given time. It must look like a friendly and safe place that people will feel comfortable to come. The area around the Centre must also be fenced. Anyone interested in coming to the party to help our community develop and give some hope to our youth. Kindly contact me to arrange a meeting.
Thank you, for your efforts in proving that, caring for the underprivileged is not a necessity but a must. More information and pictures available on our website.
Operates in: Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Established in: September 2005
Non-Profit Organisation Number: 057-170
Public Benefit Organisation Number:
Section 21 Company Number:
Contact person: Sharon Chetty
Phone: 078 696 7289
Fax: 086 684 9308
Physical address: 84 Crimby Avenue, Westcliff, Chatsworth
Postal address: 1005 Exeter Hall, 24 Sol Harris Crescent, North Beach, Durban, 4001
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