Isolated from their extended families and social supports, refugee and migrant women often find it especially difficult to balance their responsibilities as mothers and wives with those of their personal, social, and economic development. As international migrants in South Africa, they face particular challenges due to the environment of generalized xenophobia, legal protections not realized in practice, and lack of access to work opportunities, financial structures, and social capital. The Women’s Platform aims to fight the isolation often caused by migration and/or poverty and support women from across Africa to become self-sufficient, engaged members of South African society.
The Platform consists of a network of refugee and immigrant women’s community group, joining together monthly in order to provide its participants with mutual support, training, and in some cases opportunities for small business development.
Ten nationalities are currently represented in the platform, as the members engage in cross-national collaboration to guide the activities and achievements of the Platform.
- To develop a multi-nationality women’s network that serves as a platform for women to access and share resources for personal, skills, and business development.
- To support training in personal development, including health, human rights, immigration policy, and educational advancement
- To support training in skills necessary to find employment, including computer literacy, childcare, hospitality, and artisan skills.
Through surveys, group meetings, and individual interviews, women in the Platform have identified the need for information and resources related to personal development in the following areas:
- Health education
- Human rights
The Women’s Platform provides a series of trainings, workshops and discussions that are aimed at equipping the candidates with the tools and resources needed for them to meet their goals.
As Women’s Platform members become trained in the content areas discussed above as well as the skills of facilitation, they will increasingly take on the leadership of the Platform.
Supporting the development of entrepreneurship skills and providing resources for small business growth through the following activities:
- Individual business assessment and business planning for new and existing businesses
- Training in business administration, bookkeeping, marketing, income generation, human resource management, and financing