Meet our local partner - Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa
Meet Thulani Velebayi and Sonke Gender Justice. One of Wise Economy’s local partners in South Africa.
Hi Thulani Velebayi! Can you introduce yourself shortly?
My name is Thulani Velebayi married to Yolanda Velebayi, we are blessed with three kids (Avuzwa 14 years old girl, Buncwane 7 years old girl and Luncuthu 5 years old boy). I live in South Africa in a town called Cape Town in Western Cape Province, but originally I am from Eastern Cape Province in a small town called King William's Town, grew up from a small village called kwaNothenga. I am last born from the three children of my parents. I have 15 years experience in human rights activism work especially in advocacy for women and children's rights. I have lot of experience on training/capacity building work and I lots of experience in Sexual Reproduction Health and Rights (SRHR) framework.
What is the overall goal with Sonke Gender Justice?
With offices in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga in South Africa, and Kampala in Uganda, Sonke works globally, and especially across Africa, to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. In this way the organization contributes to the development of societies in which men, women, youth and children can enjoy equitable, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of just and democratic societies.
Can you tell us a little about how you work?
At Sonke my title is Children’s Rights and Positive Parenting (CRPP) Regional Senior Trainer. I am working in Eastern and Southern Africa doing capacity building to government, civil society and citizen to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. The main goal is to work with them to end the violence against women and children. I am doing this work using popular education approach that suits almost everyone e.g. One Man Can (OMC - we believe that one man can change this world if he is able to change himself to positive behavior), One Youth Can (work the same as OMC), MenCare (Engaging parents especially Fathers to promote healthy equitable relationships with non violence) and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR for boys and girls – let them to understand their bodies and that will enable them to have better choices about their health and boys to understand that menstruation is not a laughing matter but something to understand and respect that girls go through when reaching puberty stages). Latently at Sonke Gender Justice I am also managing the campaign called “My Period Is Awesome - MPIA” project.
Why is it important to include menstruation in gender equality work?
Including menstruation in gender equality will change the way how most of boys/men perceive menstruation e.g. stop feel ashamed to talk about it, stop teasing about it, stop undermining women when on their periods but to respect them, it will also encourages males to find ways on how to support women when experiencing pre-periods moods. And will prepare single Fathers to parent their girl child with better understanding. Will let man and boys to know better about female’s reproductive body. And lastly will let them support the call that says “IF CONDOMS ARE FREE, WHY ARE PADS NOT FREE”.
Thank you Thulani for the introduction! Stay tuned for more posts about our local partners.