During Women’s Month 2021, Rays of Hope’s recently appointed social worker, Jacob Tema, initiated a series of events designed to encourage conversations and actions around creating awareness of gender-based violence (GBV) in the Alexandra community.

“Even though women are overwhelmingly the victims of gender-based violence, it’s important for us to acknowledge that men can be victims too, as well as members of the LGBTQI+ community,” Tema says. “We need to encourage dialogue and engagement, so that people can begin to understand the root causes of domestic and other interpersonal violence, in order to prevent it happening in the future.”

The first event this August was a GBV Dialogue hosted for Rays of Hope’s Teenage Girls and Young Moms support groups, where the 100 young women who attended, were encouraged to talk openly about GBV, and to hear stories of courage from those who had survived it.

The team hosted a similar event later in the month focusing on men. They discussed GBV, femicide and anger management, educating those that attended about the warning signs of anger, and what they could do to help one another. The event welcomed several guest speakers from other organisations in Alex who focus on the men of the community.

“We need to help our communities understand the sources of their anger, and how to manage that anger, to prevent and avoid violence against one another,” Tema says. “These programmes lay the foundations for our projects going forward. We have great plans and ambitions that will be made reality with the help of any sponsors who want to make a meaningful difference in Alexandra, by helping us address and prevent GBV.”