The Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse has commemorated the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children with two events on Thursday 21 and Tuesday 26 November.This was in the form of the organisation’s annual White Prayer Day, however this year they opted to host two events in different locations.“The importance of hosting these events is to raise awareness around the issue of domestic and gender-based violence,” says operations manager Mareldea Sonday. “We host these events in memory of those who lost their lives by the scourge of domestic and gender-based violence.”The event invites stakeholders to a luncheon and encourages them to dress in white in remembrance of families and friends who have lost loved ones.“Even if we don’t know them personally, we feel and pray for them,” says Sonday.The events aim to encourage attendees to embrace their womanhood and cultural diversity, while promoting physical, mental, emotional and spiritual empowerment.“The reason we had two events is because we have two support groups, one in Heinz Park and another in Beacon Valley. The Heinz Park support group requested that we have it in their area and they were excited about having their own event,” Sonday says.A total of 135 people attended; 70 at the Beacon Valley event and 65 at the Heinz Park event.The White Prayer Day has been hosted annually since its inception in 2011. “The idea was to unite the different cultures, to explore and embrace our diversity. We pray together for peace and prosperity. We pray for those perpetrators, to come closer to God and reclaim their dignity. We pray for restoration, for the families that are affected, for understanding, for patience and the necessary strength to do what they have to do on a daily basis. We pray for the social workers, carers and all those working towards the betterment of society, for perseverance and wisdom to make informed decisions,” says Sonday.“We pray for the survivors to reflect, accept, let go, forgive in order to start reinvesting in their lives again – to become self-reliant and victorious. Clients draw strength from listening to other survivors’ stories and it prompts them to inspire and support those in need of assistance. Our 16 days programme is the highlight every year, members look forward and participate wholeheartedly in every aspect because, at the end of the day, we all share a common goal and that is to bring about positive change.”This year the network collaborated with Wheat Trust, an organisation that invests in women who want to see change, for a better future. Among guests were support group participants, partners, stakeholders and members. Unfortunately, it is not easy as this time of the year many people are busy with their own things and the struggle continues – but still, we’ll rise,” says Sonday. V For more information on the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse, visit their Facebook Page or call 021 376 4788.