Brigitte Horases

Brigitte Horases

Date: June 28, 2013
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Gender Links is benefitting us all; it goes out to our towns and villages to share knowledge with women from all backgrounds. I hail from Outjo, a small town in the north of Namibia in Kunene Region. I am a community activist, and I vividly remember my first ever encounter with Gender Links with so much gratitude. In 2010 I was invited to Johannesburg to attend the Gender Justice and Local Government Summit. Here I made a presentation that let me share the experiences of women in my region.

In my community I am counselor, and hold the position of chairperson of the Women Support Women organisation. Here, we work with the Ministry of Social welfare and child support as well as the Police. Through the work I do as a community activist I fight for the betterment of society. Since I work closely with the Police in my community, they refer some of the survivors of gender based violence to me. I give them counseling on the things that affect them. This is an initiative that I have taken to heart, to help other women in my society who want to heal from their difficult experiences. Women and children are broken by the violence perpetrated against them and it is sad to hear their stories. At the same time, it gives me hope as we see these women talking about their experiences and seeking help. It is good being able to see them go to the police and report their cases.

From the time Gender Links came to my community, we have all gained so much knowledge and training on gender, which relates to so many different aspects of life. We are very thankful to Gender Links. If they could empower us with such knowledge in Outjo then they can do it anywhere else in Namibia. Sarry, the Gender Links Namibia country manager has trained us, and the knowledge she has imparted to us has empowered us. It has also made us aware of the misfortunes we have suffered due to a lack of knowledge.

I am now trying to share the knowledge I have gained in my community. Seeing Sarry present and train members of our community made me realise that maybe I can actually do it myself. I used to be shy, and it was difficult for me to stand in front of people and say anything because I always felt powerless and doubted if anyone would listen to me. I had always seen myself in the context of only being a “woman” in a patriarchal setting and nothing beyond that. But when I was called on to go and present on a regional level in South Africa, it opened so many doors for me and it boosted my confidence. It was my first time going to Johannesburg and my first time on an aeroplane.

Through the training that I received, I am now able to train others, and I see other women looking up to me. I give credit to GL for the amount of work being done in terms of putting gender on the agenda in my community. GL can be given credit for the changes that have happened in my life, and also for the progression that I see in my community. Activities such as awareness campaigns on GBV have contributed to the knowledge that the community members in Outjo have gained. Since women have been conscientised about their rights, they have been empowered to stand their ground. Both the attitudes of the perpetrators and survivors of violence are now changing. Women are now able to say no to violence against them. They are also in a better position to report cases of violence against them.

The change that has occurred in my life has created a breeding ground for change in other women’s lives because I can share information with them. I hope to continue learning through Gender Links, as it has really enriched my life. I presented at the Namibia in-country Gender Justice and Local Government Summit and won an award. My next step is to attend the Regional Gender Justice and Local Government Summit and Awards in South Africa where I am confident that my presentation will win yet another award.



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