International recognition for local

2016-04-12 06:00
Lucinda Evans has been awarded Lead SA Hero for the Month for March for the work she does to help abused women and children in various communities.

Lucinda Evans has been awarded Lead SA Hero for the Month for March for the work she does to help abused women and children in various communities.

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A Lavender Hill woman has dedicated her life helping abused women and children.

For the past eight years Lucinda Evans has fought hard to make sure that those that are abused have a place to hide and a shoulder to cry on.

Evans has founded Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal our Women), an NGO that helps abused women and children.

Until recently her organisation was based in the living room of the house that she shares with her husband and two children in Lavender Hill. Now they have a bigger and better office where they can help even more people, thanks to her perseverance, determination and hard work.

Working tirelessly she made sure that those who need help were helped – even if it meant that she had to go for nights without sleeping.

Her hard work has not gone unnoticed. In March she was awarded Lead SA Hero of the Month for her community work.

Community upliftment is at the heart of Evans’ organisation. In December 26 shacks burned down in one of the informal settlements in Lavender Hill and left 100 people homeless – just before Christmas. Evans was in the informal settlement every day making sure the families had warm food to eat, clothes, blankets and shelter while they were rebuilding their homes.

Evans says the Lead SA hero of the month took her by surprise. “When I got the message that I was chosen as the hero of the month I couldn't believe it. I’m really grateful that people are seeing the work of Philisa Abafazi Bethu. I really want to thank everyone who is helping me to help others in need especially women and children,” she says.

On 8 March she was bestowed with the National Order of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur) by Elisabeth Barbier, the ambassador of France to South Africa, to honour her on International Women’s Day.

The event took place at Alliance Francaise du Cap in Cape Town.

The national order of the Legion of Honour, established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, celebrates the accomplishments of distinguished individuals. South Africans who have received it include Ahmed Kathrada, Desmond Tutu, Kader Asmal, Nadine Gordimer, André Brink and Jay Naidoo.

Currently Evans is on a three-week training program in the USA on a full scholarship for the International Visitors’ Leadership programme. She has been attending workshops in Washington DC, Cleveland (Ohio), Tulsa (Oklahoma) or Albuquerque (New Mexico) and San Diego (California).

The programme will make her work easier, she believes. “We are here to get capacity building training which will help us to advance women’ rights. Through our seminars we are meeting other women who have struggled and worked hard to make their communities safer so there is a lot to learn.”

She will be back in the country on Friday.

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