Empower – Nandi’s Story
At the age of sixteen I discovered I was pregnant which was a scary experience for a young girl living in the townships of South Africa with no support. Shortly after my son was born his father was killed in gang violence and I decided it would be best for my child to live with family members while I went back to school. Tragically my little boy caught an infection due to the lack of clean water and sanitation where he was living – he was only six months old when he died in my arms from dehydration caused by a stomach bug. It was at this stage that my life totally went off the rails as I sought to numb the pain. At age 19 I found myself pregnant again and my life was a mess. It was at this lowest point in my life that I met Tracey through the Zoe Project and I decided to give my baby up for adoption. Through this whole process she provided counselling, love and support to me and helped me believe in myself worth and value. I’m so proud to say that today, thirteen years later, I am the mother to two beautiful healthy children, I have a job and my own flat. I also continue to work with the Zoe Project and share my story with young girls and by doing so let them know that there is hope and chance for a brighter future.
Educate – Shandre’s Story
I feel I have come full circle with the Zoe Project. I first heard about the Antenatal classes when I visited the maternity clinic in Retreat. I was pregnant with my second baby at the time and I thought wow – I can be a part of this amazing project that teaches mom’s about what to expect during pregnancy and birth. These classes were a lifeline to me during my pregnancy and it really helped me to connect with other moms as well as learn so much about how to care for myself and my child. Following the birth of my child I then attended the Moms and Baby classes at the Zoe Project and it was at this stage that I was asked to join the team and help teach and share my knowledge with other women in my community. I am forever grateful to be a part of the Zoe team – I love being able to help my own community and pass on the knowledge I have gained through the Zoe Project to help other moms and babies have a healthy start in life!
Nurture – Ellen’s Story
I’ve been a doula at the Zoe Project for the past eight and half years and I am passionate about supporting vulnerable women in my community through our work. Young girls in our communities suffer so much violence and poverty and many are on their own as they give birth. For me it is the greatest honour to be there for them as they bring a new life full of hope into this world. As a birthing partner at the Zoe Project we are here to provide comfort, help and support and just love these women. The reason I got involved in the project was that I wanted to work towards making our communities healthy again. Our family structures are broken by drugs, gangs and poverty and we need to help vulnerable women and their children have a safe place to heal, to be educated about their rights and to have hope for a better life. The Zoe Project offers this – we are a free service and no one is ever turned away, no matter how tough the situation is. For me it’s about giving back love, encouragement and to help these women believe they can have a better life.