Social Justice

The Projects Abroad Human Rights Office works closely with a number of other non-profit organisations. By establishing such partnerships we are able to hold life-orientation workshops with those who are most in need of support, and to effectively raise awareness about human rights issues.

Vredelus

Vredelus House is a secure care centre for young female offenders located in Elsie’s River, which hosts young female offenders aged between 13 and 18.

Workshops are presented by our volunteers/interns once a week, focusing on issues such as healthcare, employment or life skills, which are designed to educate the girls and which will have an impact on them once they leave Vredelus. Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem in Cape Town, and as such workshops may focus on issues such as sex education and the risk of contracting infections and diseases. Other workshops focus on areas including exercises to boost their self-esteem, or to minimise discriminatory behaviour towards each other.

The girls love to show off their talents, both creatively and on the netball court, and in particular when they have the opportunity to strut their stuff on the catwalk!

Bonnytoun

Bonnytoun is a place of safety for male juvenile offenders located in Kraaifontein. The boys, aged between 14 and 17 years, have been charged with committing a crime, have been assessed by a probation officer and have been found to need restrictive placement while they await trial and finalisation of their court case.

Volunteers and interns visit Bonnytoun once a week to meet with the boys, during which time they aim to educate and empower them. The workshops are structured to apply to issues which affect their lives, and have included discussions on topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, gangsterism, violence and the court procedure.

We have found that the boys respond to information which is relevant to them and to their situation, but it must be communicated in a light-hearted and interesting way so as to keep them engaged. This is not always easy and the boys can get easily distracted, but when volunteers/interns find a way to get through to them there is a great feeling of satisfaction. It is one of our most popular projects, and is the longest running – volunteers and interns are always keen to get involved and assist with the planning of workshops.

St Anne’s and Sisters Incorporated

We run workshops at two shelters for abused women and their children. Given the delicate nature of these circumstances, attendance is strictly for female volunteers and interns only.

St Anne’s is a non-governmental organisation in Woodstock, founded in 1904, which is under the patronage of the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of South Africa.

Sisters Incorporated is a private welfare organisation in Kenilworth, founded in 1959.

These shelters strive to help women to help themselves; the rate of domestic abuse is very high in South Africa, and women frequently find themselves, along with their young children, with nowhere to go. Volunteers and interns prepare and run workshops aimed at educating and empowering these women. We assist the ladies with various legal issues, whether it be helping them to get a divorce, a protection order, or spousal or child maintenance. Other workshops might take the shape of a discussion forum, wherein current events or South African culture and traditions are compared and contrasted to those of our volunteers and interns. This is always interesting and informative for both the women at the shelters and the girls from PAHRO.