Foster builds a network of support

first_imgAs a young woman finding her own way, Lesley Ann Foster started Masimanyane Women’s Rights International that enabled her to grow personally as she helped others. Masimanyane Women’s Rights International executive director, Lesley Ann Foster, is on a mission to end violence against women. (Image: African Feminist Forum)Yvonne FontynOn her first day at what was to become the Masimanyane Women’s Rights International, executive director Lesley Ann Foster says she sat in the empty building and said, “Now what?” She finally had the means to start a shelter to help the many desperate women she had come across in her work with a charity for street children, but she didn’t know where to start.Her benefactor, businessman Reggie Naidoo, who had offered her his premises, told her: “Phone all the women you know; they will tell you what to do.” The women came, to help and to be trained as counsellors. “A friend who worked for Powa [People Opposing Women Abuse] came and 22 women were trained on how to counsel rape survivors,” she said on the phone from her headquarters in East London, on the beautiful Eastern Cape coastline.That was 20 years ago. Today Masimanyane, funded partly by overseas donors and the Department of Social Development, employs 42 full-time staff, with 20 volunteers giving their time on a regular basis. Its 11 centres in Eastern Cape offer medical and legal services and 24-hour counselling, and Masimanyane collaborates with other organisations in South Africa such as the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development, based in Lenasia, in southern Johannesburg. International presenceFoster herself is a speaker on world platforms – in 2010, together with NGOs from the nine provinces, she compiled a nationwide report for the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and presented the report the following year in Geneva, Switzerland.Working with Norwegian Church Aid, Foster has been instrumental in helping Iraqi women achieve their democratic rights, and in 2012 she took a group of South African activists to the United Nations’ General Assembly after she was invited to address delegates on the global increase in violence against women. She sits on the boards of several international organisations, including Amanitare, the African Partnership for the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls, which has members in 26 countries.Working with women is what gets her up in the morning, says Foster. “I love working with women. What I am doing, I am passionate about… I am focused on bringing women from one point to another.”About the first women she was able to assist at Masimanyane, she says: “I felt attached to them, and to the outcome, but I realised my role was to be a facilitator – to link them with opportunities, then let them take it and run with it.”She loves nothing better than to hear that someone who had approached the centre had achieved her goal – like the woman who had no matric, could not speak English and lived in a rural area but wanted to become a social worker. She heard Foster speak on the radio and plucked up the courage to approach the University of Cape Town, which agreed to help her to do the course. “Now she is doing her honours.”Setting a goal and slowly, step-by-step, achieving it is something to which Foster can relate. She was living with a violent partner and was harassed at work for being a whistle-blower when she had her “Aha” moment and realised where her purpose in life lay. Helping street childrenHer foray into the non-profit sector began when she returned to her home town of East London to spend time with her ailing father. “I had been offered a management position – it was a step up for me,” she says. “But the minute I arrived I felt something tugging at my heart – a feeling that there was something else to do.” At her church she heard about Daily Bread, a street children project, and soon she was helping with fund-raising and running its resource centre, collecting goods and distributing them to needy people. “I trained as a child care giver and was able to open 20 soup kitchens. From the funds we raised we were able to buy farms to house the children. In the seven years I was there we helped about 400 children. Those boys are young men now. I still have contact with them – I am granny to their children.”Things went sour when a colleague told her she had found that funds had been misappropriated. Foster investigated, found evidence and took legal counsel from Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR). At this point her employers began to threaten her. On one particularly difficult day she escaped her office to LHR across the road and as she was talking to the counsellor “she said to me, you are working for disempowered people but here you are, disempowered,” Foster recalls. Aha moment“I had my ‘Aha’ moment,” says Foster. “I left the charity. But I fought the case to the end. I was harassed, I was stalked but I see it as a growing experience now because I gained strength within myself.”Her mother, now 81 and still a committed community worker, advised her against pursuing the case. “I told her I was prepared to die for what I believed in. Once I had admitted to myself what the dangers were, I could go out fearlessly.”It was at that stage that she decided to help women. “During my work with street children I encountered women with huge problems – they were enduring terrible abuse and violence, the children also. But there was no help for them. Lifeline worked in the white community but there were no shelters or counselling services for the black community.“I was 32 and finding my own path – and I have always been of the mind that when I have an experience, I apply it to help other people.”The desire to set up a resource to help the women from her community was born, but help did not come easily. Organisations such as the Black Sash did not have the means, she says, but “Ntombazana Botha of LHR helped, and she is the reason is I started Masimanyane”. Another friend, Mala Naidoo, mentioned that an overseas church had been training South African women as counsellors.It was at that stage that Reggie Naidoo, who ran Ibec, a business to help marginalised entrepreneurs, offered Foster a double-storey house in which to start her centre. After the initial outreach efforts, she was able to fill the house gradually but surely as women arrived – referred by LHR and churches, and coming to train as volunteers.“The name came from the women,” says Foster, looking back on 18 years of active service. “Masimanyane means ‘Let’s support each other’. The organisation’s growth was organic, it was democratic – and we have kept to that in the 18 years.” Counsellor trainingThe first training done with Lifeline, a free phone counselling service, was “traumatic and powerful”, she says. “It was a meeting of different cultures, races and languages – we had interpreters. The fear the black women had of the white women…” It was clear there was a lot of work to be done. At the same time, she says, some psychologists in the city were sceptical: “They did not believe that victims could help each other. But we needed women to stand up.”Foster has made it her business not only to help disempowered women at a practical level, but also to try to change the structures that underpin the inequalities in society. During the first weeks of the centre’s operation she documented the women who had been referred to Masimanyane by LHR. “There was no help for them.” She put a call through to the then minister of justice, Dullah Omar, who happened to be the friend of an uncle. “He sent Vusi Pikoli [then director-general]. He sat with me, discussing what to do. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was deputy justice minister – she came too.“We organised for a petition to demand more services for women. Seven months later we launched Masimanyane – Dullah Omar was the main speaker. It was the right time – 1995 – the time of the transition to a democracy.”Foster was invited to join a committee drawing up the new Domestic Violence Act. Turning pointIn 1996, she went to the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Women’s Citizenship in Brighton, in England – “a turning point”, she says. “I was mesmerised, learning about rape and other issues of violence against women in a global context.” Then came an invitation to attend talks on women’s leadership at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, in the United States. This is where she said she became aware of “women’s human rights. It changed my understanding.” It was exciting for this woman from South Africa to attend Rutgers’ Center for Women’s Global Leadership to undergo training with delegates from all over the world, she said. “It was amazing and it changed my organisation.”While in Brighton, Foster had connected with a Norwegian NGO, the Norwegian Crisis Shelter Movement, which became Masimanyane’s first international partner. “This gave us a global view and platform. We continued to develop those links.” Foster also sits on the board of International Women’s Rights Action Watch, which is active in 122 countries.Yet, despite these measures and those put in place by various governments, discrimination against women and violence against women are growing worldwide. Speaking last year on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Louise Arbour, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that to stem the increase of violence against women and girls, those committing the crimes must be prosecuted. “Most perpetrators of these crimes [enjoy] impunity,” she said.“This impunity is built on a foundation of discrimination and inequality… Unless these inequalities are addressed, including in the economic and social spheres, the violence will persist.”Foster concurs and says the reason for the violence remains that “women are not valued in society as much as men are. This discrimination fosters inequality and the inequality is expressed by some men as violence against women and girls. Patriarchy allows men to experience privilege in every area of their lives and the downside of this is that women are accorded a status lower than that of men.”But she is not dispirited: “South Africa offers much hope and inspiration for women. Yes, we do have high levels of violence against women but we also have powerful programmes to protect women and to advance their human rights. We need to work on implementation of the existing laws and programmes. I have seen young women enter professions that have been closed to them. Our affirmative action programmes are amazing in putting women into leadership positions. There is much to celebrate and be proud of.”Trends and developments offer hope, she says: “The work which is being done to eliminate violence against women in the country is powerful. It has drawn diverse groups of women together and they work on the issue collectively.”It is not just in homes that changes are being made: “I am particularly proud of what Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre has achieved in getting women engaged with their local and provincial governments,” says Foster. “We have worked on strengthening state accountability and this is brilliant because the impact reaches all women in the country.”last_img read more

Preparing for winter with pastured poultry

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Producers who raise pastured poultry and want to maintain egg production this winter should keep their birds as warm and dry as possible, according to experts from the Purdue University College of Agriculture.A good first step is to provide indoor accommodations for the flock.“Producers should insulate housing, provide heat, make sure water is kept unfrozen and keep hens inside on extremely cold days to avoid frostbitten combs and wattles,” said Patricia Hester, professor of animal sciences.Providing shelter has a number of benefits, said Delaware County Extension educator Michael O’Donnell, a pastured poultry producer.“The most important thing for laying birds when it’s cold out is to have an area where the birds can get out of the elements so they can get to dry bedding, be able to roost up and not have a draft running through their area,” he said.A small coop, shed or barn are housing options that allow birds to get out of the elements and provide space for them to move around, Hester said. According to the Humane Farm Animal Care poultry housing standards, exits to the outdoors should be placed every 50 feet in large barns and should be 18 inches high and 21 inches wide. These exits may also provide ventilation, but if condensation appears on coop windows, additional airflow is required.Perches are also recommended to keep birds comfortable. Shelters should be kept above single-digit temperatures to avoid frostbite. To minimize the risk of accidental fires, producers should pay close attention to indoor heaters.O’Donnell recommended using straw, wood chips or wood shavings as indoor bedding. Sand, dirt and mulch are good materials for a dust bath, which birds need to keep clean and limit pest infestations.Poultry also need access to water at all times because they are constantly breathing out moisture, using it in egg production or passing it through waste. If the coop temperature dips below freezing but stays above single-digit temperatures, it may be necessary to heat drinking water using a base heater or an electric heater that can sit inside a water dish. O’Donnell advises checking the water often to ensure it does not run out, spill over or become contaminated.Producers may also need to provide more feed for their poultry because birds use more energy in winter to regulate their body temperatures. If the birds don’t have enough to eat, they might lack the energy needed to produce strong eggs and maintain good health. That is why feeders should be kept filled.“Laying hens eat more feed in cold weather,” Hester said. “When they are outside, they have access to roughage in the field. When they are inside, they tend to eat more feed and less roughage due to lack of availability.”It is also important to make sure the birds get enough of the calcium they need to produce strong egg shells. One solution is to provide them with a diet that includes crushed oyster shells.O’Donnell said laying hens may not produce as many eggs as daylight dwindles.“Laying cycles can be triggered by light exposure, so a light source on a timer may be helpful in that case — you can have a light turn on before the sun is up to mimic a longer day,” he said.For more information on poultry management practices, call the Indiana State Poultry Association at 765-494-8517, or visit their website: http://www.inpoultry.com/.last_img read more

Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – April 20, 2011

first_imgShare with your Friends:More Keep Geocaching Spoiler-Free It is hard to say exactly what makes geocaching so addictive. Is it the fresh air? The exercise? The amazing places this activity has taken you? It’s most likely all of the above and more. We’re willing to bet that one of the many reasons you love geocaching is that each geocache you find feels like a small victory; you had to meet and overcome a challenge in order to find that cache.The challenge for you might be in solving a puzzle to determine the coordinates for a Mystery/Puzzle Cache, surviving the journey to the cache location, discovering the cache, and/or figuring out how to retrieve the logbook from a tricky cache container. Cache owners spend a lot of time and energy designing these experiences. You can help preserve them for others by keeping information that might spoil such moments private. This could include videos of a cache find or the answers to Question and Answer stages of a Multi-Cache.If you would like to contact a cache owner to request permission to post spoilers publicly, you can email them through Geocaching.com. Thank you for helping to ensure that the experience at each cache you’ve found remains just as it was for you!center_img SharePrint RelatedGeocaching Etiquette 201: Finding and LoggingJune 14, 2019In “Community”From flying planes to finding caches — Interview with cache owner CliptwingsJuly 12, 2019In “Interview”Top Tips for Puzzle CachesAugust 12, 2014In “Learn”last_img read more

2011 Queensland Junior State Championships

first_imgThe event will see teams from Queensland’s six regions – South Queensland and Border Districts, Brisbane, South West Queensland, North Queensland, Sunshine Coast and Central Queensland – compete at the championships. After a successful introduction in 2010, the under 12’s Boys and Girls divisions will again be contested at the championships, along with the under 14’s and under 16’s Boys and Girls divisions. The event will commence at 9.00am on Saturday, with the last round of games at 6.10pm. Games will recommence at 7.30am on Sunday, with the Under 12’s and Under 14’s Boys and Girls finals to be played at 1.00pm, while the Under 16’s Boys and Girls finals will be played at 2.00pm. The event will be used to select Queensland’s under 14’s and 16’s Boys and Girls sides that will compete against New Zealand in December this year. Under 12’s Queensland Merit sides will also be selected. For more information, or to keep up-to-date throughout the 2011 Queensland Junior State Championships, please click on the following link:http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=14-7413-0-0-0&sID=147311last_img read more

Willie Cauley-Stein Gets “Team Blake” Tattoo To Honor Late Friend

first_imgAn overhead shot of Rupp Arena during a game.LEXINGTON, KY – NOVEMBER 14: A general view of the Kentucky Wildcats game against the Grand Canyon Antelopes at Rupp Arena on November 14, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Former Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein, who is set to be selected later this week in the 2015 NBA Draft, has a number of tattoos covering his body. While all surely have significant meaning for the future NBA star, one – his most recent addition – surely means a bit more than the rest. This past weekend, Cauley-Stein got a massive neck tattoo to honor his late friend Blake Hundley, who passed away from cancer in May at the age of just nine years old. Cauley-Stein and Hundley had developed an incredible friendship in a short time. Cauley-Stein even wore “Team Blake” wristbands during games this past season.Cauley-Stein posted an Instagram photo of the design for his fans. He made no mention of where on his body he’d be getting inked.Cauley-Stein is regarded as one of the most likable players in basketball, so his decision to honor Hundley doesn’t come as a surprise. Whichever teams drafts him this Thursday will certainly be getting a high-character person.last_img read more