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Problem

In 2018, crimes reported in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town included – Rape 103, Murder 140, Sexual Offences 200, attempted to Murder 246, Common assault 1574. Ongoing trauma suffered by this community and many others on the Cape Flats cannot continue to be ignored by those in the state, who not only have the duty to ensure the safety of the community, but also hold the institutional and economic resources to ensure that the socio-economic conditions which fuel the growth of criminality are urgently addressed.

The issues of generational poverty and generational violence have a huge effect on the lives of girls and young womxn. Whilst, addiction, poverty, poor health, suicide, trauma, high unemployment rates, emotional and physical abuse and hopelessness have become a norm. Young womxn and girls are targets for gang activity and for decades now, the communities of Bonteheuwel and Beacon Valley on the Cape Flats have been in the grip of a war-like situation. The impact of all the social ills combined with the levels of violence and trauma that girls face daily such as abuse, rape and gang violence has had a profound effect on the basic cognitive development of young people in South Africa, in this regard young girls and womxn in Cape Town.

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Solution

Wild pace Intervention with specific focus on relationship building with self and others create an understanding of social justice, redefining accountability and a better understanding of democracy and women’s rights, gender advocacy to seek change expected psycho-social change amongst young womxn and girls self-Awareness and knowledge of rights Increase in Confidence to make informed decisions Girls recognize and follow alternative life options to gang membership supported by mentors.

The police specialized gang units have a regular and effective space to speak to young womxn and undertake activities with young womxn.

Community based organisation in Bonteheuwel and Mitchell’s Plein strengthens community activists to organise against gang culture and gender-based violence.

Our Focus

Our focus is to give a holistic approach to the root causes of crime and gangs- this includes a plan that put young people at the centre of development. We build the capacity of young womxn (and men) to make good decisions to be able to think critically and to be able to solve problems- with the goal to establish women’s collective strength that could unleash their lives from oppressive economic regimes, patriarchal traditions, gender equality, gender discriminations and socio- historical legacies that exploit them.

Call to Action: Join the campaign and help empower young girls and womxn

Project ( I Define Me)

The ‘I Define Me’ Support programme is an Action Aid flagship development programme.

It is uniquely geared to set-up and embed community-friendly support services within the host communities, Bonteheuwel and Beacon Valley, Mitchell’s Plain, and under-served poor areas facilitating them as whole organisations to use their existing resources maximally. Collectively facing their challenges of how better to use the resources at hand to deal with their situation more effectively, is the critical first step of the developmental journey.

Our Focus:

Three key role player groups are targeted:

1.young womxn at risk of or already involved in gansterism and violence,

2.their parents who are directly impacted by violence

3.the partner organisations responsible for social change in the community.

The girls are of the ages 14 – 21 and are meeting on a weekly basis in both communities. The ‘I Define Me Project’ is one of its kind in South Africa that focusses on the girl child bring various aspects together.

The project has a multi-focus which includes

(i) Personal Empowerment – this part of the project started in 2017 with specific focus on relationship building with self and others and includes a Wild Space Intervention.

(ii) The World we live in focuses on engaging the public spaces and how the girl’s child experience and benefits from the world they live. Create an understanding of social justice, redefining accountability and a better understanding of democracy. This component will run concurrently with number (iii)

(iii) Lobbying focuses on the socio-economic state of the girl child and engaging with the political landscape in South Africa and Africa as a whole, women’s rights, gender advocacy.

We work with 8 different circles: Girls in two communities, 2 parent’s circles, 2 young mother’s circles and a mentor’s circle. We employ a range of different methodologies such as weekly contact sessions with girls, monthly learning and sharing circles for parents, training and check in sessions with mentor’s and staff, we also do residential work as well as Wild space interventions.