Tearfund has won in the ‘International aid and development’ category at the 2018 Charity Awards. We received the award for our work with survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in South Africa.
The Phephisa project is based in KwaZulu-Natal. This is a deeply unequal and violent region, where nearly half of men admit to perpetrating gender-based violence. The project has been built around what survivors themselves have identified as their own priorities. Women survivors said they wanted to have a ‘safe space’ where they can meet, reflect on their experiences and start the healing process together.
These safe spaces, often church buildings, give women a place to share their stories with others who have faced a similar ordeal. The leaders of these groups also speak out publicly on the issue, pushing for social and political change.
The project has been running for just over three years. It currently supports 547 survivors. Some 90 per cent of the women said they had spoken out for the first time about their experiences thanks to this work.