The Somali Community Models Solidarity

Somali community models solidarity

Somali stakeholders join together in support of women

The ACTION Support Centre attended the Somali Women’s Conference on Sunday the 24th May 2015. By invitation of the Somali Embassy based in Pretoria, ACTION was joined by guests of the South African Somali Women’s Network (SASOWNET), the Somali Women’s Forum (SWF), the Somali National Youth Community and a representative of the Pan-African Parliament, who gathered at the Nura Hotel based in Mayfair.

The conference commenced with the welcoming of all guests by the Program Coordinator and then gave a briefing about the aim and proposed outcomes of the meeting. In commemoration of Africa month, the aim of the discussion was to bring together a strong united Somali community, with special mention of a collective Somali women’s initiative in South Africa.

The representative for the Johannesburg branch of SASOWNET, Fatuma Hassan, presented an overview of the initiative to the guests in which she encouraged the rest of the Somali women to engage and further collaborate, to form a united front by which they can discuss and address their common struggles and grievances that they have experienced since settling in South Africa. Other representatives from the SWF, Somali National Community for Youth and the Board of the Somali Embassy prompted similar notions of assisting one another so as to form a collective and united front.

The ASC was proud to have had team representatives Pretty Mncube and Jennifer Pillinger-Melnick present on past and ongoing affiliations that ACTION has with the Somali community, specifically with SASOWNET. A key development that has been made is the collaboration between ACTION and the City of Johannesburg, in addressing the challenge of language barriers in South African public spaces, by offering English classes to Somali foreign nationals.

This form of ongoing support that we offer to the Somali women is also evident in our preparation to share a publication, which aims to tell the stories of Somali women living in Diaspora in South Africa, with the dual purpose of raising awareness about the backgrounds and challenges that migrant women face, so as to foster greater understanding for migrants, as well as targeting the wider Somali Community in the hopes of brining together a united Somali front based in our country.

The conference concluded with the representative of the Pan-African Parliament expressing his gratitude to the ASC for the support given to the Somali community and called for a continuance of such future endeavors.