Hundreds of BCM women call NGO for help

Image: 123RF/Artit Oubkaew

Are you trapped in a situation of gender-based violence? Help could be a phone call away.

An East London NGO is reaching out to women and children being violated physically or psychologically, offering a hotline during 16 Days of Activism as well as a permanent helpline.

Residents of Buffalo City Metro can now dial *134* 20000# for the duration of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children or call the helpline on 080 055 5558.

The scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) has seen the gruesome killings of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, boxing champion Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels and many others.

This is an initiative of Bumb'Ingomso, which translates to “shape your future”, which also empowers the youth on how to be technologically savvy, and how to apply for jobs and ace their interviews.

The programme is also gathering information about the scourge and trying to find ways to combat it.

Manager Mancane Futwa said the programme started last year as a pilot in BCM but now they were ready to expand it to the Amathole District Municipality over the next two years.

Numbers to call

Calls for help in BCM IN 2018 — 872

Number to call during 16 days:

*134* 20000 # 

Permanent call centre line 080-055-5558 

He said people were empowered through educational programmes to assist those too afraid to go to police stations.

“This is done to educate women, young and old, about GBV, and where people can go to help,” Futwa said.

“We are reducing that vulnerability. We do workshops for those who have been affected by GBV on a daily basis at the city library and have empowerment sessions.

“Once we get a report, we connect that person with people to assist. People call for career guidance too. Every child and adult deserves to get help. People need access to services."

He said they would have a detailed report on the GBV cases they had dealt with since November 10.

They would also be starting the programme much earlier next year.

Last year, said Futwa, there were 872 appeals for assistance during the 16-day programme.

Of those, 63 said they needed urgent help.

“We receive calls from people who say they are afraid. These helplines give them confidentiality and link them with our organisational partners such as Masimanyane Women's Rights International. We get people to places of safety."

Futwa urged the public to report cases of GBV.

Farida Myburgh, who is in charge of interventions for the NGO, said the hotline received an average of 450 cases a month.

Most cases were reported at the East London magistrate’s court, and police stations at Buffalo Flats and Fleet Street.

People can also call the Total Shutdown Movement on 076-637-4570 or e-mail eastern-cape@thetotalshutdown.org.za and the Masimanyane Women's Rights International on 043-743 -9169.

ziyandaz@dispatch.co.za


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