Clare Jefferis, Belron International
"A member of Afrika Tikkun’s Diepsloot team shared some shocking facts with me about the safety of women, as I walked with him around the maze of alleyways and shacks of the Diepsloot township. This conversation has haunted me for the last year.
"I thought to myself how could this happen? The Township is a community. Why would you treat your neighbours, your own community like this? But this is the reality of a Township. This is the reality of South Africa.
"According to official figures, at least 137 sexual offences are committed per day in South Africa, mainly against women, and this August was the most deadly month for violent crimes that the country has ever seen.
"Women are taking action. Just three weeks ago, thousands of women from across South Africa marched to parliament in Cape Town to protest at the government’s failure to deal with rising violence against women. But when will it change?
"And this is why Afrika Tikkun’s services are more important than ever before. Afrika Tikkun empowers young women by providing them with the skills and confidence to get a good education, find a good job, earn their own money and speak up if they are abused. Fortunate and Puseletso (this year’s Afrika Tikkun ambassadors) both head up Young Urban Women Groups, part of Afrika Tikkun’s Empowerment programme and a way to get girls to talk about the challenges they face in a safe environment.
"Every bit they do for women is a step closer to providing them with a brighter future. And every penny that we raise for Afrika Tikkun is a step closer to giving women the same opportunities that we all have. This is what I will be thinking about when I’m volunteering at SOBC on Sunday. #LivetheSpirit"