Phoenix Branch Helps at Women’s Day Event
August in South Africa is Women’s Month, where women are celebrated and honoured throughout the country. One event took place on August 20th at the Phoenix Child & Family Welfare Society building in Phoenix, KZN. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined with Sahara Women’s Shelter and Family Welfare Society to have a pampering day for women. The ceremony included speeches, video, music, dance, and various booths which included massages, manicures, make overs and ended with a lunch.
For this year’s celebration, church members sponsored sixty toiletry bags for women currently at the shelter. The Young Women in the Branch helped during a mutual activity to pack the bags. The bags included toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, wash cloth, lotion, nail clippers, ear buds and tissues. The committee organizers of the event expressed their thanks to the Church for the donation and the support of the women at the shelter.
Sister Merlini Muthu, Phoenix Branch Relief Society President said, “The Sahara Women’s Shelter is a non-profit organization that relays only on sponsorships. The Phoenix Branch reached out to Sahara Shelter last year during Mormon Helping Hands Day where they cleaned the area, painted window frames and door frames, put new plastic sheeting in the cub boards, and welded the burglar guards on the windows.”
Julie Gopual, a social worker at Sahara said, “Women are abused all over the world; race, religion, or economic status makes no difference. People don’t want to talk about it because it is painful or they want to hide because they are ashamed. We need to get the information out to women that domestic violence is not acceptable. We want people to talk about domestic violence.”
Domestic violence is the most common and widespread human rights abuse in South Africa. At the Sahara Women’s Shelter they can house twenty-four women and children. The shelter works with social services agencies and the Phoenix Police Department for placement.
Sister Muthu said, “We take our lives for granted because we come from good homes and yet there are sisters out there who need our help. We are part of a great sisterhood in Relief Society, but it felt good today to be a part of a sisterhood where we could do some good.”
I had such a good time with the women. My Bollywood dreams came true when a very handsome young man sang a song in Hindi and the women (including me) got up to dance.
The women were pampered with manicures, neck massages, and make overs.