Stories from the Field

"The Black Sash: Women for Justice and Peace" launched in KZN

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mary kzn collageThe Black Sash KZN Regional Office had the privilege of hosting the Book Launch of Mary Burton's book "The Black Sash: Women for Justice and Peace" to an overwhelming turn out of ex-Sash members and supporters at Archies Cafe at the Diakonia Centre, where the KZN Regional Office operates from.

Evashnee Naidu, KZN Regional Manager, welcomed everyone to this iconic event celebrating this milestone achievement in the life of the Black Sash. In our 60th year we have launched three amazing books detailing various aspects of our history, with the book by Mary capturing the then and the now and Sash's relevance in South African history.

Jill Nicholson, a former Sash member and former Manager of the Durban Advice Office, introduced the book as a blueprint for social activists of today and thanked Mary for capturing our history so poignantly.

Mary eloquently spoke about the journey of the book and the overwhelming response it was receiving from all walks of life. She said that she had always wanted to do a history of the Black Sash to track our trajectory and to find that our strategies from the past were as relevant today as they were then. She urged especially young women to continue the pursuit of activism.

Advocacy work with SANGOCO in EC

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EC Sangoco workshop collThe Black Sash Port Elizabeth Regional Office recently conducted a follow up workshop for 16 SANGOCO Nelson Mandela Metropole members. The focus was on understanding advocacy in the context of social and economic problems in the province.

The group identified problems such as housing, unemployment, safety and security, lack of access to basic services, and lack of community participation and accountability. They then workshopped the process of developing action plans that included identifying specific problems, setting goals to solve these, involving other relevant stakeholders, and setting time frames.

Field visit to the Overberg District

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In August, paralegal field workers from our Cape Town regional office paid a fruitful 2-day field visit to the Overberg District to the Botriver Advice and Development Centre as well as Genadendal Legal Info Desk. They conducted an information event in each of the areas, educating the community about the Black Sash Hands Off Our Grants campaign. They also advised partners on how to complete a questionnaire on unlawful deductions from social grants.

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Black Sash LRC Workshop

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Black Sash KZN Social Assistance and Private Pension Workshop with LRC

Despite all Black Sash Regional offices closing the doors to one-on-one advice giving as a strategy in 2012, clients still come to our offices looking for help. One of our referral partners is the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) who have limited capacity and expertise to deal with particularly with Social Assistance and Private Pension Issues.
In order to combat this challenge and ensure our beneficiaries receive the necessary support, the Black Sash KZN Regional Office facilitated a workshop with the staff of LRC on Social Assistance and Private Pensions.
It was a mutual learning and sharing space as LRC were able to bring their own case experiences to the workshop where we could have the joint opportunity to work through them and find resolutions. We also shared our contacts at Local SASSA Offices with LRC so that they could be able to provide quick and efficient support to beneficiaries.
We are confident that this intervention will ensure that our beneficiaries will receive the necessary support and access their right to Social Justice, thus making Human Rights Real.

Field visit with Brot fur die Welt

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helle collage - CopyOur Cape Town Regional Office recently accompanied Helle Dossing, representative from long-term donor, Brot fur die Welt, on a visit to two of our community partners.

In Lavender Hill we met with Aysha Davids from Women Hope 4 the Nation. She spoke to us about her work in the community of Lavender Hill and took us with her on her Making All Voices Count (MAVC) local Government Monitoring session. We also walked about in the community with her.

We also visited Delft with one of our new partners, Hope 4 Destiny, where we met Janap Odendaal. She runs a creche and is also involved in many community activities. Janap started this year as a Black Sash monitoring partner to monitor the local SASSA service point. She has seen a vast improvement at this site since they have started with their monitoring.