“DEEDS NOT WORDS” – a tangible motto echoed in the hallways of Crystal High School, an educational gem situated in the heart of an area associated with gang violence and crime – Hanover Park. This was the call made by the management, teachers and students of the school where Women2Women on Monday hosted a special outreach programme to assist in empowering the youth and in particular, the girl child. The event was also host to partner organisations and public figures, including Phillipi Police Station Colonel Lang, the Hanover Park Clinic, Safer Schools, Islamic Relief, motivational speaker Preston Jongbloed and the Trauma Centre and human trafficking survivor and author autobiography, “Exit”, Grizelda Grootboom.
Chairman of the Women2Women campaign, Yaseen Johaar, explained that the programme is a one billion-rising global campaign that takes place in the month of August annually.
Johaar said the campaign’s 2018 mission is to focus on future leaders, the youth.
He said that Women2Women’s involvement in the community began with the disappearance of then six-year-old Hanover Park resident, Sasha-Lee November close to three-years-ago.
“We thought, instead of looking to the other [areas], let’s set an example in our own area…[So] we chose to focus on Crystal High in Hanover Park, which is currently rated as the most dangerous community in the Cape Flats.
“We wanted our [media] to focus on the positivity. Because the place that you come from doesn’t make who you become one day.”
Johaar noted that the objective of the programme is to engage with learners and instill within them the belief that change can happen.
Women2Women will nominate girls from Grade 10 who will be trained to build comraderie within the school around the issue of gender based violence and the empowerment of females, skills that will be reinvested into the school.
Human trafficking survivor and author of “Exit”, Grizelda Grootboom, inspired learners with her life journey.
Human trafficking survivor and author of “Exit”, Grizelda Grootboom, explained that having grown up on the streets in Woodstock, at the age of 18 she landed in the hands of someone she considered a friend, who sold her into sex slavery in Johannesburg.
By the age of 27, Grootboom began looking inward, spiritually, and after seeking assistance from others, began her exit.
Her escape from the clutches of sex slavery started when she gave up narcotics upon her return to Cape Town.
“I probably made it through the grace of God, but I had to give up something that was very important to me, my baby girl, Summer, because I was pregnant with her. My madam decided to take that away from me and when she did that it is when the turning point kicked in.”
Grootboom’s journey of “Exit” took a decisive turn when she sought refuge in her mother’s home in Khayelitsha Site C.
“The title of the book was based on the brothels we were locked up in and the only sign you would see was ‘Exit’ and clients used to walk in and out – I didn’t even know how to write back then.”
Following her escape, she discovered her strength and with the assistance of NGO, Embrace Dignity, Grootboom learnt to read and write through authoring her book.
Seated amongst her uniform-clad classmates; the charismatic lady is this year completing Grade 11.
“Your past is not the greatest, but it depends on what you do with it to change lives,” Grooetboom motivated learners.
On the issue of teenage pregnancy, Hanover Park Clinic manager, Charlotte Makan and Sister Masoeda McNiel announced the launch of the clinic’s youth session, which was spearheaded following the impregnation of a 12-year-old girl from the community, the clinic’s youngest expecting mother.