I PROTECT ME - SOUTH AFRICA
It is a tragic fact that rape and sexual abuse are commonplace in South Africa where girls have to deal with dangerous and violent conditions on an everyday basis. I Protect Me is a response to this situation.
Acting on individual initiative prompted by the clear needs that she could see around her, project founder Monica Clarke started this project along with a management team in Capetown. In response to the dangerous conditions prevalent in South Africa, I Protect Me has trained a cadre of trainers to teach girls in a school setting to protect themselves with self defence techniques, and to value themselves.
For nearly a decade, SDB has worked with other national organisations across the Susila Dharma network to fund this unique project. Susila Dharma’s support has encouraged IPM to expand the project to secondary schools and funded the costs of training and transport to enable project workers to continue community-based outreach during the COVID pandemic. Because of IPM’s intervention, the Department of Social Development/welfare now assist children facing challenges at home or in cases of child abuse. Recently we have also funded an independent evaluation of the impact of IPM's work. With the IPM team now attracting the interest of the South African Social Welfare and Education Departments, we feel proud to have helped support this valuable project to this point of maturity.
Most recently, SDB has contributed to funding for peer educators who, once qualified, can facilitate sessions in schools, thus further expanding IPM’s reach in South Africa. As it has seen diverse and increased needs, IPM has expanded its focus beyond gender based violence, setting up sub-stations in the community, bringing services to people who cannot afford to travel to IPM’s offices. Here they assist with the challenges facing people everyday, such as abusive relationships, parenting problems, hunger and violence. When they cannot help directly, they signpost people to relevant local services. Furthermore, together with The Learning Trust, they have supported the establishment of community based, after-school programs including reading, sports, arts and culture. As well as being fun, these clubs create a safe space to keep children off the streets and away from gang culture. IPM is thus working from the ground up: helping prevent and alleviate the root causes that enable gender based violence to occur in the first place.