Clara Jansen – South Africa

Clara Jansen – South Africa

Date: July 1, 2015
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“My goodness Alma why does Gender Links want to know about me? I am just an ordinary community member of Mosselbay Nontshapo Township, Ward 13. What is it that I have done that makes people want to know more about me? I want to cry, but I will not cry. I do not know why God is doing this, but it is through his will and his grace. At least Ntombi came on a good hair day for me, she can take all the photos that she wants, today I am shining.”

Aunty Clara Jansen is resident of the Mosselbay Municipality, and she has been running a safe house and shelter for her community, Nontshapo Township. The area is filled with poverty, unemployment, and substance abuse, and it has a high crime rate. Mosselbay Municipality has been one of the key organisations that have assisted Aunty Clara to be able to continue with her endeavours in the community. She has been approached by the Mosselbay Municipality to commence with an initiative called the “Recycle Shop.” The aim of the Recycle Shop will be to encourage members of the community to exchange recycling goods in order to receive a food hamper.

When Alma from Mosselbay Municipality told me about this idea, she informed me that this was an initiative that came from their gender plan for the council. It came from a plan that was created by Gender Links. I said to her, but how will this work? Then she explained to me how Gender Links had encouraged them to also start thinking about environmental planning, and for a long time I have also wanted to start with a recycling initiative or project.

Last year I attended the Mosselbay Summit, which also had a day for people with disabilities I was fortunate to attend. I realised that the council had been working very well with Gender Links. So I think that the fact that Gender Links has been working with the council has made an impact in my life. Although the Recycle Shop has not been opened officially yet, I am very happy that this change will build my community. I know that my life has changed, because of this project that will be implemented. I am glad that the council identified my area as a test site for the project. If Gender Links did not come to Mosselbay Municipality I think it would have been difficult for this project to even exist. I feel my life has changed because of the work of the council and Gender Links. In my community, young women find themselves in tough situations, and struggle to get food, let alone a better life. Then they turn to older men who abuse them with drugs and sex, which is not right. I am glad that the businesses in Mosselbay have also decided to come and help us. The containers that will be put in my yard will help a lot. Sometimes I think about the women who have disabilities like me, and how this project is going to help them to get food.

The Recycle Shop is going to really help my community with poverty alleviation. Sometimes, when people talk about being poor, I think about the people in my community. There are men who are making sure that this project will take place. Gender Links has helped me to have confidence; when Alma told me that Gender Links wants to visit me, I was very excited. Even though I have not attended any workshops that have been done by Gender Links and the council, I know my life is going to change. The recycle shop will also teach young women skills to be able to also run the same project for other women. Many people live off scrap metals and other materials, so the Recycle Shop will also help them to gain skills. When people bring in their recycling materials, they will be bought by the businesses, which will use it for their own purposes.

I am praying that God will keep me strong for the next few years, and give me health. I want to see this project succeed and I want to make sure that poor people, especially the lives of women, are changing. I think that the same way the council approached me to run the “Recycle Shop” that should be the same thing that must be done with other communities. Gender Links must continue to work with councils to make sure that they end up helping poor people in our communities.



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