Fifty beds donated to women’s centre

Saartjie Baartman Centre director Shaheema McLeod with Mayor Patrica de Lille.

Some relief has been provided to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children after Mayor Patrica de Lille donated 50 beds to the organisatrion last Tuesday.

Since 1999 the centre has been a home to destitute women and children, many fleeing abuse. But often there are more than 100 residents at the centre, and they have to share beds because there aren’t enough for everyone.

Ms De Lille said the women and children at the centre needed a place of comfort and peace. She honoured the women at the home for being brave enough to break the cycle of abuse and seek help for themselves and their children.

“We have seen too many cases of abuse in this city. It is an indictment on all of us. Women and children are to be loved not abused. Something is wrong with society.”

She said children were gifts from God and ought to be protected; instead they were being abused by the very people who should care for and love them.

“The response to the scourge of crime has to come from all of us. Our churches also need to change the way they deal with things. Some tell the women to go back home and pray for things to get better but if he has done it once he will do it again. We need to hang our heads in shame for what is happening in this country,” she said.

Ms De Lille said domestic violence was partly fuelled by the way mothers raised their sons, making more of a fuss over their boys than their girls, spoiling them and doing everything for them so that when they got married they expected the same treatment from their wives. She urged mothers to raise their children equally.

Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for area central, was also at the function. Raised by a single mother who was unemployed, he said women were strong and should be celebrated everyday not just in August.

He remembered how his mother had never had spending money but “whatever was in the her hand would accompany me to school,” he said.

Thecentre’sdirector, Shaheema McLeod thanked the mayor for the beds and said the skills women learnt at the centre would benefit them when they left.

“It takes a community to ensure a better society,” she said.