Today, October 11 2017, is once again the International Day of the Girl. This year, we focus on emergency response and resilience planning. Click here to read the Director-General of UNESCO’s statement.
The word resilience is an emotive word for me, it makes me think of every woman I’ve ever met who’s had to grit her teeth and push on, despite facing challenges related to her gender. In particular, it makes me think of women in the San community. The San Bushmen are people indigenous to south-west Africa. My experience with San people has been in Namibia. I spent some months among San communities, learning about the challenges they face. It is difficult enough being San, without having to face the challenges of being a women in the community.
The women I spent my time with were intelligent, vivacious people, who wanted to learn and be involved in the local healthcare system. Some would work hard attempting to increase their employment opportunities but were often stifled by domestic abuse, unavoidable pregnancy (due to lack of education and availability of contraception) and a search for pay increase which often led to prostitution.
Some of these women find stable employment at the Naankuse Lifeline Clinic, which offers free healthcare to all San. To give some perspective, the tribal hierarchy in Namibia places San people at the bottom of the ladder, so queueing in a public hospital means they are literally pushed to the back of the line and are forced to wait until the end of the day for treatment. The Naankuse Clinic can be the only option of care for these people and the San women work as translators for the volunteer doctors to provide accurate treatment.
These women are the epitome of resilience. Their only real goal in life is to make sure their families have access to food and shelter. There is nothing they won’t give to make that a reality.
If you are interested in volunteering at the clinic, click here
To learn more about the Naankuse Foundation, click here
Women are resilient, it is something we all learn without realising we are learning it. We keep moving forward, bouncing back, putting one foot in front of the other. It is important to remember that together, we can help keep each other steady and strong. Right now we are resilient, one day we will be immovable.