36 year-old HACT Facilitator, Amanda Mweli is passionate about fighting for women and children’s rights. As a woman and a mother, she is determined to be part of the solution when it comes to combatting the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) because she says she’s tired of it being swept under the rug. “GBV is a silent pandemic, unlike COVID or even HIV, no one talks about it even though everyone knows it’s there…” says Amanda.
As one of HACT’s IMPower programme facilitators, Amanda is currently part of the team responsible for delivering this intensive 6-week Girls’ Empowerment & Violence Prevention programme which is equipping hundreds of vulnerable girls and young women living across the Valley of 1000 Hills with the skills and confidence to identify risk, say “NO” effectively and, if that doesn’t work, how to use physical self-defense to escape danger. “Empowering young girls with a better understanding of their rights and how they have the power to protect themselves has been very rewarding for me” says Amanda, “their reaction to the programme has been so positive, it’s great to see them uplifted in this way.”
Amanda also believes the programme is a life-changing experience for many of its young participants. “You can see a change in the girls’ attitudes and how they act almost straight away” she enthuses, “it’s always amazing for me to watch them gain more and more confidence with each session as they realize they may be small, but they are not powerless. To me, there is no greater gift we can give a young girl than that.”
Proven to reduce rape and sexual violence by up to 50%, IMPower is an internationally recognised girls’ empowerment and self-defense programme designed by No Means No Worldwide. As one of only a handful of organisations in South Africa who currently have facilitators trained and certified to deliver this highly effective programme, the HACT team is proud to be playing an active role in addressing the extremely high rates of sexual assault and violence against women and children currently taking place across South Africa, a situation which is of course being exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Thank you to our generous donors; the Solidarity Fund and the Isuzu Childlife Foundation for partnering with us to deliver our IMPower programme in 2021.