Thousands of African women face serious maltreatment, beatings and forceful expulsion from their family home. Women without husbands become victims of a society that sees them as without pride. Many young women are forced into prostitution, traveling to Europe to work in modern-day slavery. In addition gender violence is a common reality. If a woman refuses to comply with her maltreatment she becomes an outcast in her own community.
The Bernadette Strebel African Peace Foundation (BSAPF) was officially founded by African women in July 2003 and dedicated to Bernadette Strebel because of her engagement in Africa.
The Foundation is run on a voluntary basis by African women.
Its aim is to support women in need and their children.
The Foundation has attracted the attention o f high members of government as it has helped many unprivileged suffering women and children. The team includes legal and spiritual advisors.
The Women’s Home is a safe place for women and children in need. The home provides them with protection, shelter and legal advice in a family orientated environment until they can be re¬integrated in their communities. It is a Help for Self-reliance project. There are in-house production facilities for contracted work like sewing or the making of small handy¬craft.
This enables the women to earn money for rent and food while their children are being looked after in a Day Centre. Psychological, mental and non-religious spiritual courses bring back their personal strength enabling them to lead
a life free of fear.
The association workers describe the positive effects of the home as follows:-
Reduction of female prostitution among young girls by bringing awareness and learning skills (craft, hairdressing, etc)
Stopping female mutilation
Promotion of gender equality by bringing awareness to the local society
Intervention when abuse takes place.
The members of the home keep the local police informed about the maltreated women. Free legal advice is provided. Discussions are in progress with the government to promote a law to prevent girls being forced into early marriage.
In addition, the Women’s Home is used for recreational purposes – concerts, gatherings, ceremonies, etc.