Gender-based violence, lack of food-security are rife in Saldanha, says community leader
Words: Fanie HeynsCAPE TOWN. – A lack of food-security which has affected thousands of households in Saldanha, and gender-based violence to which especially children in the region has been subjected, are two of the main challenges which often face.
Samuels, who attended 1000 Women Trust’s trauma training in 2020, is a pastor at the House of David church in Saldanha. She is also a community leader and one of the coordinators of 65 soup kitchens in Saldanha.
During a tumultuous 2020, she experienced multiple setbacks, as her cousin passed away after suffering a massive heart attack. Shortly afterwards, her 23-year old niece was murdered and her cousin’s mother passed away afterwards. The parents of a close friend of hers who tested positive for COVID-19, died recently as well.
Her mother-in-law who was in hospital from the middle of December to January 2020, also passed away recently, but it was not COVID-19-related.
“Gender-based violence which affects the children is widespread in Saldanha. Thousands of families are without food on the table because of job losses at Saldanha Steel. This causes hardship and strife in households because nobody has anything to eat. It is very common to hear people say they went to sleep on an empty stomach the previous day,” says Samuels.
Every Sunday from 13:30 to 18:30, the congregants from House of David would walk through the streets and to different homes and distribute food parcels to vulnerable families. Every Wednesday we drive true White City and Diazville to distribute soup and bread to the community. Every second Sunday we distribute cooked meals as well as food parcels to vulnerable families.
The greatest needs she and her congregation experience, is toiletries that they want to distribute to boys and girls in the community, as well as fresh vegetables, she said.
Pastor Jasminah Samuels encourages people to speak out and reach out to people. “God will comfort you, He will heal the pain. Even those that goes through trauma.”
She also thanks the sponsors (West Coast CAN, Saldanha Bay Municipality and Pick n Pay) that empowers them to reach out and help others in dire need.
The 1000 Women Trust, a women’s organisation that raises awareness around gender-based violence, rape and abuse, mobilises resources to assist women-led organisations with grants and skills development.
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