The Sozo Foundation allows residents of Vrygrond, Retreat and other under-resourced areas to upskill themselves in order to find employment; with one programme in particular empowering women all year round.
The foundation celebrated women – and especially the women who make the foundation great – on Wednesday 28 August. Not discriminating however; the men who work at the foundation were also able to join in the fun at the annual celebration.
“It was lovely to have the ladies together. They were dressed to the nines. All the ladies between the ages of 20 and 30 wanted to dress up and wear masks. It was a lot of fun for the trainers, programme managers – it was for the staff, really,” says Sherena Roux, centre manager at the foundation. “We had a programme where we had drama and comedy, and it was enjoyed by everyone.”
In celebrating women, Literature for Africa’s chief executive officer (CEO), Johnathon Soeker, sponsored books and CDs as gifts for the women of the foundation.
This day, though special for the employees, is not the only day each year that the foundation honours the women around them. In their efforts to empower the community at large, they facilitate a programme called the Hair and Beauty Stream which is favoured more by the women in the area, and is serving to create jobs and income.
Wendy Abrahams, programme manager at Sozo Foundation says: “It helps them to go home and allow the young ladies to earn an income.”
Ronel Mannellepie, the foundation’s youth coordinator adds: “The ladies really enjoy the stream and they are excited to graduate and go work at the salon.
“Some of them work nights at salons already. It’s very beneficial to the women because they do hair at home for the ladies of the community for R20 or R30 and make money for themselves.”
Abrahams says there have been men in the past who entered the stream, but this year women have taken the reigns, paving the way in their own careers.