Poverty and the inability to escape it is a reality for thousands of women, but there are organizations working to make a difference for women in this situation.

One of these is the Uitenhage Self-Reliance Center, a non-profit organization that empowers women to become economically active and independent.

The small community of Kabah lives in poverty and faces problems such as drugs, alcohol and gangsterism that claim many promising young lives.

The story of a mother and her daughter’s struggle with these social ills brought them to the center stage, and Viniti Fortuin now runs her own business.

Beneficiary Fortuyn says: “He helped me a lot when it came to finding a job. After all, we are also a group that offers handicrafts. He helped us set up our business as our main goal was to get kids off the street and avoid teenage pregnancy and drug addiction. Whenever we need him, he is there. Personally, he helped me with my child. He gave us advice so she could build a better future.”

This self-help center is open to anyone in the community helping men and young children – from teenage pregnancy, family counseling and job search to employment.

Uitenhage self-help center chairman Freddy Effenar says: “We help you. We have different agencies and their websites that you can go to and register. And we are very successful in this. We have a board where we post jobs and people go and apply. We help them build a strong relatable resume, we guide them to strengthen our resumes, and when they get a call, and many of them do, we help them prepare for the interview.”

The NGO started working only last month, but the changes it has brought are already visible.

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