Celebrating women who stand tall

2015-08-11 06:01
Members of the organisation South African Blind Women in Action with the donation the organisation received from mayor Patricia de Lille at a recent Womenand#039;s Day event. 

tiyese jeranji

Members of the organisation South African Blind Women in Action with the donation the organisation received from mayor Patricia de Lille at a recent Womenand#039;s Day event. PHOTOS: tiyese jeranji

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Mayor Patricia de Lille has praised blind women for their strength, courage and perseverance in refusing to be defined by challenging situations they have been through or that they face every day.

De Lille addressed women from South African Blind Women in Action (SABWIA) at the Cape Town Society of the Blind in Salt River on Thursday last week.

De Lille said at the event she chose to celebrate Women’s Day with them as they were the women who overcame adversity and refused to be victims. Instead, they took action to empower themselves and set a shining example for everyone.

“You remind me of the 20 000 women who, on 9 August 1956, made history when they marched to the Union buildings to petition against the divisive pass laws. Those women made a powerful statement that marked one of the most significant turning points in the fight against apartheid.

“Like those women, you have also taken a stand. Despite the physical challenges you face every day, you make a daily decision not to be victims of your circumstances. Instead, your will to succeed has led you to overcome adversity, learn new skills and use your time to serve people in need,” she said.

SABWIA is an organisation that empowers blind women to live life to the fullest. It runs entrepreneurial projects, focusing on knitting, weaving and craft work, as well as programmes that empower women by providing social work services, placement services, computer literacy, office administration and entrepreneurial training.

Attending the event was Netty Coetzee (50), who said it was heart-warming.

“We feel very excited that we are also remembered. It makes us feel better that we don’t live in a world of our own but people around us notice that we are there and they do things with us in mind. I’m so happy and very excited that we had to come together and celebrate as women because there are a lot of challenges that we face,” she said.

De Lille donated R10 000 to help the organisation run its programmes, as well as various food items like canned foods, vegetables, rice and wool.

Lizelle van Wyk, CEO of the Cape Town Society of the Blind, said women lived in a time where they were confronted with social challenges but they had to stand their ground.

“Do things for yourself, equip yourself and make magic happen. Don’t let anything bring you down, you have done a lot for yourselves,” she said.

Elizabeth Maphike from SABWIA said they were grateful and they hadn’t expected it.

“It’s such an honour to have such an event. We are really happy and it gives us strength to carry on with the work we do for other blind women,” she said.

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