Women of faith filled the OR Thambo Hall in Khayelitsha with not just song, dance and colour but with hope that the challenges facing women can be overcome. On Women’s Day, congregants from churches such as the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Presbyterian, St John’s and United Church held a a prayer session, targeting social ills. They began the day with a short march in the neighbouring communities, highlighting the plight suffered by women. “Today we want to pray for the strength to deal with the challenges that we face in our communities, such as rape, our children being involved in gangsterism as well as the violence which is the result. We have seen that there has been a spike in incidents of hijacking and the murder of people during house burglaries, people are being trafficked and substance abuse is still a major problem,” said organiser Nelisa Majola, from the Methodist Church, False Bay circuit. Majola noted that each church has social development programs and does pray for the various challenges that women faced. “This time we then decided that we have to stand together as different churches with the aim of having more impact on our society. This is the first such event and we are hoping to carry on and keep asking for divine intervention,” she said. Majola said that while the country celebrated women’s day it was important to address women empowerment that is lagging. “We do believe that there has been a vast improvement in the empowerment of women but more can be done. This also a matter that needs our attention where we need to discuss and make sure that there are efforts from churches to fast track the empowerment of women. For now the most important for us is to unite under one banner despite coming from different churches,” she said. Nobuzo Mbolompo, an attendee at the prayer session, said that she felt that their prayer session was needed especially for parents. “Our children have submitted themselves to these gangs and everyday they are fighting. They are killing each other and there seems to be no solution in sight. We have to ask God to step in and assist us,” she said.