Material Girls

Last week, students who are working with the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development went back to Lenasia to videotape some interviews and meet with Sima, the non-governmental organization’s assistant director. That day, the challenge was not the dependability of technology but how to respond to questions posed half-jokingly by Nisaa’s clients—for which I didn’t have an answer. Some women asked if we would give them … Continue reading Material Girls

One Day At A Time

“One day at a time and it is possible for them to make it.” These words, spoken by Mama Thandie Mfene at a Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development office outside Johannesburg, refer to the female victims of domestic violence here in South Africa. I’ve spent most of my time interviewing students at the University of the Witwatersrand in the comfort of campus cafes. But, yesterday, … Continue reading One Day At A Time

Fighting The Good Fight

Today the Nisaa group got to show the Joburg Child Welfare and the Journalism groups a little bit of what we have been doing with the non-governmental women’s development organization we’ve been working with since we arrived in South Africa. When we got to the Lenasia office, things were a bit hectic. We showed Professor Locy and a few of our peers around and introduced … Continue reading Fighting The Good Fight

Finding Strength In Soil

Gardening was never something that interested me. But I think I’m going to try it, mainly because of what I saw at a domestic violence shelter operated by the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development in South Africa. The women took so much pride in growing their own food. They reveled in telling us about what they grow. I learned about how the food they eat … Continue reading Finding Strength In Soil

Freedom To Drive

We spent today interviewing women who are victims of domestic abuse. Their stories deeply affected me as they talked about their partner’s abuse and how the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development has helped them become stronger. One woman played down her own story of abuse, saying other women at the shelter had been through worse. Our group talked about it afterwards. We couldn’t believe her strength and … Continue reading Freedom To Drive

Domestic Abuse Does Not Discriminate

Today was a difficult but important day for the NISAA crew working on communications for the nongovernmental agency. We went to the organization’s women’s shelter, which houses several women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. Walking through the shelter’s gate, you could feel that this was a place of refuge and safety. While the women’s stories were compelling, opening up to strangers … Continue reading Domestic Abuse Does Not Discriminate

Making His Mom Happy

I never understood heartache until an 11-year-old boy told me he loved NISAA, a nongovernmental organization that serves victims of domestic violence, because it “made his mom happy.” This boy is the child of an abused woman. His mom has been at the NISAA shelter for three days. He kept glancing at her, as if to check that she was okay. Several women and their … Continue reading Making His Mom Happy

Adventures With and Without Technology

We started our day with a reality check: We are dependent on technology. After a struggle with the wifi, email and computers at our guest house, my group found the information we needed to start our strategic communications project for NISSA, an organization that combats domestic violence. We worked on creating a newsletter to send out to donors and community members. Then, we did what our generation … Continue reading Adventures With and Without Technology

Country of Contrasts

As I walked off the plane and saw South Africa for the first time, it was everything I had expected and more: beautiful, full of luscious greenery and diverse. The first day, we went to Nelson Mandela Square, a mall filled with designer stores and trendy and beautiful people.  I couldn’t help but wonder if we were seeing the South Africa we were supposed to … Continue reading Country of Contrasts