A Bonteheuwel project working with girls affected by violence, hosted an induction ceremony for mentors who will be partnered with the girls.
The project, a collaboration between the Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum (JPF) and ActionAid South Africa, is called I define me.
On Sunday October 7, 15 women leaders were inducted as mentors at the Baptist Church hall, after undergoing an intensive three-month training programme.
The mentors will assist the girls – between the ages of 15 and 21 – to reach the goals they set for themselves.
Speaking at the event, Faldielah Haupt, the chairperson of JPF, said her organisation is there to create alternatives for young people.
“When we joined ActionAid on this project, the capacity-building process helped us to look at our organisation’s strengths and weaknesses. The project also helped to create employment for two people, and it opened up partnerships. I am also a mentor on the project and it changed me as an older woman. It can only be good for the girls,” Ms Haupt said.
Guest speaker, Caroline Peters, the founder and chairperson of the Nantes Athletic Club, shared her story of how she managed to survive a gang rape on the same field where her club now enjoys park runs.
“For many years I thought it was my fault that I was raped. I was 15 years old. It was a horrific thing. It took me years to get to this point, which involved addiction and rehabilitation. My late father made me believe in myself because he gave me identity. We need to value who we are. Well done on this programme. I wish this programme was there when I was 15 years old. The rape changed my life forever, but no matter what happens in your life, it does not define you. It cannot destroy your soul. Rise through the ashes. I believe in empowering women. I define who I am, and not my past,” Ms Peters said.
The JPF’s Judith Kennedy, said the mentors are all phenomenal women who are leaders in their own right.
At the induction ceremony, they had to sign a contract and read out a pledge.