BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Each one, teach one.

Posted by businesswom on July 10, 2010

Across the bridge and a minibus taxi ride away sits an unassuming women’s shelter with an amazing mountain view in Cape Town, South Africa.  The shelter is for women who have been victims of domestic violence and is in an area commonly known as being part of the Cape flats, underprivileged areas of the city that are a byproduct of the former apartheid regime.

The mountains of Cape Town

Mountainside in Cape Town

I’d link to the shelter’s website, but sometimes the site works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Internet is still somewhat of a luxury here.  And, in true lekker Cape Town style, that is ok because everyone is just laid back living life.  If you want to know more information, you just have to drop in.  Address?  Who needs it?  No one seems to use them  when giving directions around here.  So, just take the train to Retreat station, then the minibus to Seawinds/Rooibekkie Street.  Get off when you see a church, just past the field of tires, tin roof shacks, a few actual houses, and children playing.  Then, walk around the corner.  It’s the orange house.  But, I digress.

The shelter not only provides a woman and her children a place to stay, but it also provides her a way to build a new life.  The women learn beading and knitting, which are trades here that permeate South African fashion.  They also learn basic computer skills in weekly classes.  Similarly, in the Cape Town suburbs, another shelter does the same.  It not only provides refuge for the beaten and abused, but also teaches skills for life.  Here, the women learn resume writing, business planning, and sewing in designated classes.  Several minutes away in Observatory, Cape Town, a church hosts a women’s beading group that has been featured in national magazines.  The beading orders they receive provide income for the women who have learned the trade.  The World Cup created an influx of orders that is sure to add sustainability to their program.

It does not take much to teach someone a skill that we may already know.  We may even consider learning a new skill ourselves.  Many things we know as second nature may benefit the person next to us who has not had the opportunities that we’ve had.  I have experienced this sharing of gifts in South Africa first hand.  Each one, teach one.  Teach a woman a skill today.


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