“Every Scar Tells a Story” - Book launch

| Tariro Washinyira
Mpho Mashengele, Chairperson of WHEAT handing out awards at the launch. Photo by Tariro Washinyira.

Last week Thursday, Women’s Hope Education and Training Trust (WHEAT) launched a book called ‘Every Scar tells a story’. The book is the compilation of writings by eight beneficiaries of WHEAT’s first writing workshop, which took place in April 2013 in Kleinmond.

Chairperson Mpho Mashengele of WHEAT handed awards to various organisations it funds to show appreciation for the work they do to empower women in their communities.

“These women are particularly good at what they do, for instance looking after orphans and gender based violence awareness,” she said.

“We realised that these women are normally turned down by the corporate world when they apply for funding, yet they have a genuine need. They do not have to be formally registered, but should show that there is some tangible work happening on the ground.”

Wabi Asunami, a 21-year-old Congolese woman, represented Vision Development of Fizi (VIDEFI). The name Fizi arouses emotion and pain for most Congolese because it is an area where women were held captive and sexually abused.

Asunami says she enjoys working with her hands and is benefiting a lot from the organisation. On weekends, when she is not at college, she helps new clients at the organisation.

VIDEFI teaches women sewing and hairdressing. With a R10 000 grant from WHEAT, VIDEFI bought material to sew school uniforms which they donate to less privileged children at primary schools.They offer two daily classes because of the high demand. The training period is six months. On completion, the women receive certificates. Morning classes start at 8am and afternoon classes at 12pm. Before enrolment the beneficiaries should pay a R100 registration fee. Two Zimbabwean women who recently graduated found jobs at a clothing factory in Maitland.

In the book, Asunami tells her story. She writes: ‘There was a time when I was not Wabi Asunami … A time when I did not think I was worth much. A very confident and happy child turned into a rebellious, angry teenager who could not see how amazing and wonderful she was and would never have believed it even if you told her.’

Women are breaking the silence around gender-based violence. Cathy Mathews, one of the writers, in the book writes: ‘It is Thursday again and it is payday! I am supposed to feel excited at the fact that I can buy something special for my five and nine years old sons, but instead I feel fearful and scared, scared of going home with my pay, because it will be taken away from me after a fiery argument which will end in a fight and no money left to feed my sons…’

‘The fight turned ugly … which resulted in him stabbing me in my left side with a pocket knife he kept in his cupboard. Whilst in the bathroom, trying to establish the seriousness of the stabbing, he kept shouting at me to open the door. I took a towel and wrapped it around my waist to stop the bleeding …. He threw me out of the back door followed by all my clothes which came through the back window. My boys looked through the window crying.’

In the same book, Mabato Philna Tileing writes, “There is a brave woman, who is a matriarch by nature, who can face the challenges … who can defeat the enemy without a physical fight, but by using wisdom and a silent weapon.”

The 72-page book is not for sale. Interested people should contact WHEAT by phone or email and request a copy. It can also be ordered on WHEAT’s Facebook page; a donation is appreciated.

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TOPICS:  Gender Society Violence

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