|Women of Vision delegation to visit
George, South Africa
George Herald, Thursday, 11 April, 2002 - George, South Africa
|Members of the Tacoma delegation with George Mayor Marius Swart (at the back) and Debbie Bruce (left) and Christine Bertsch (second from right), members of the George
delegation who are leaving for Tacoma at the end of April.
|A delegation of Tacoma, the sister city of George in the United States, were welcomed officially by the mayor of George at the banquet hall on Monday.
The delegation of nine are all persons representing the Domestic Violence Institute and other organisations that are involved in projects providing protection for victims of domestic violence.
Their itinerary in George included a visit to the Phambili BPW Refuge for Battered Women, which is based on a concept from Tacoma. Marthy Watson, a previous member of the George BPW (Business & Professional Women), was introduced to the concept in Tacoma in 1998 when she was part of the first delegation form George visiting Tacoma.
At an open meeting on Tuesday, the delegation held discussions with Rape Crisis volunteers, members of BPW, Phambili board members, community members, NGOs, religions groups, and women's groups.
An educational programme on domestic violence and sexual assault that is to be implemented in schools and colleges was also discussed.
Also on their itinerary was a visit to some of the local police stations and the new Thembalethu interdict office and a trip on the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe to Knysna for an information and discussion session with the Black Sash on advocacy and women's issues. They also planned to meet with the mayor of Oudtshoorn and to visit facilities for battered women in Oudtshoorn.
A delegation of Georgians, mostly women who are service workers and leaders from the Phambili BPW Refuge, will be visiting Tacoma at the end of April with the specific purpose of learning from organisations in the Tacoma/Seattle area that serve women and girls who are victims of domestic and sexual violence. The team has been invited to meet with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to discuss the issues that affect victims and they will meet with the Lt. Governor for the State of Washington and women elected officials in the State Legislature.
On Monday, gifts were exchanged between the Tacoma delegation and Mayor Marius Swart. Swart also received a letter from the mayor of Tacoma.
The Tacoma Sister City committee is working on a three-part documentary video of which a draft copy of the first part was to be shown in the Conville Library, its topic being "a cultural understanding of South Africa." The topic of the second part is "economic development" and the third "tourism."
Judie Fortier, co-chairman of Women of Vision, an organisation for the betterment of women told the George Herald that they were pleased to see the facilities at the Phambili Refuge and that there is now a Tacoma Room. A grant from the Rotary of Tacoma will be used to erect a new fence around the shelter and assist with improvements to the facility.
"We sensed a pride among the women in taking care of the building and also some hope for a new, larger building," said Fortier.
The delegation will be leaving for Cape Town at the weekend.