Tina Thiart, founding member of 1000 Women Trust, women’s right activist and non-profit fundraising specialist, has laboured tirelessly for more than 20 years as a catalyst for social change and gender equality in South Africa.
“She never sleeps! How she manages to tirelessly do what she does with very limited resources is testament to her passion, dedication and drive to improve the lives of Women in South Africa”, volunteer Adrie Jurgensen said.
Thiart runs a consultancy helping community groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) develop innovative fundraising strategies and sustainable development plans.
She is one of the founders of 1000 Women Trust which mobilizes South Africans against domestic violence, rape and abuse.
The Trust aims at making resources available to provide access to skills and leadership capacity building. It also provides financial aid to women-led organizations that provide support to survivors of gender-based violence, Thiart said.
The initiative by the Trust is to cut across cultural, economic and class divides and to provide a platform for women and men to stand together and to speak out against domestic violence, abuse and rape in the community.
The dynamic Thiart grew up in Uitenhage with two sisters and two brothers. Gender inequality was entrenched in the social fabric of that society. Discrimination between classes, colour and culture was rife and it annoyed her.
As a teenager, she was deeply influenced by her grandmother, who never shirked the hard yards and did the job herself, even when it was challenging hard labour.
Thiart was the first of her family to go to University, and obtained a BA in education at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
She enrolled as a teacher but was frustrated by the fact that men earned more income than women despite having the same qualifications.
Thiart moved to KwaZulu-Natal where her SANDF navy captain husband, Theunis, was transferred to Durban and attained the role of director of KZN Athletics. She launched the Tastic Rice Cross Country Initiative travelling around the province to identify talented young athletes.
When Theunis was transferred to Simon’s Town, Thiart joined the Women’s Hope Education and Training (WHEAT) Trust. She filled various marketing and fundraising roles, and then went on to become executive director of the International Network of Women’s Funds. She had the privilege to work in 32 countries and learned about women’s solutions to challenges.
Thiart, an avid golfer, multi-tasker of note and an incredible hard worker, helped to raise millions of rand as part of 1000 Women United Against Domestic Violence and Abuse Campaign in Cape Town, prior the formation of 1000 Women Trust in 2015.
Thiart believes that women should invest in women and ensure that all women have access to knowledge, skills and resources.