A group of 80 participants linked to a local empowerment project have graduated as first aiders.The group of women participated in the free learner’s licence empowerment project hosted by community upliftment organisation Nead Community Development.The women completed the Emergency First Aid Responder (Efar) training in two groups and were certified at a special handover at the Oliphantshoek Community Centre in Tafelsig on Thursday. They group completed their training between May and June (“First responders trained”, People’s Post, 12 June).Joanie Fredericks, Nead founder, started the women’s empowerment initiative in January.She then introduced the Efar training as part of the empowerment initiative that offers free learner’s licence classes to the community (“Driving women empowerment”, People’s Post, 23 January).This initiative serves to save lives, she says.“Tafelsig is one of the red zones, resulting in ambulances and crews being attacked and robbed by criminals in the communities. Ambulances are forced to go to police stations to wait for police escorts, wasting valuable time. The police have many other priorities in fighting crime so ambulances sometimes have to wait for hours,” says Fredericks.The initiative was supported by Metro EMS and included participants from the local community policing forum cluster structure.Ronice Perry, one of the women who successfully completed the training, has already had the opportunity to put it to use.“My brother was stabbed and they called me to asses the wound and tell if he needed urgent attention and care. That was late July. After that I was also able to call the ambulance for another person,” she says.Perry is part of the learner classes and works in the community.“I participated in the training because I work in the community with children and I wanted to be prepared if I came across anything,” she says.“The course was very helpful because it gave us the skill and the courage to go there and look at the wounds. I don’t think I would have been able to before.” The sessions covered basic life-saving first aid and procedures to follow when alerting the ambulance services.The sessions were offered free of charge to the community and a third training date is in the pipeline. V For more, follow Nead Community Development on Facebook.