Saartjie Baartman Centre(SBC) came to solve the problem of violence against women and children in South Africa. This problem is confirmed by the fact that one in every three females has suffered violence from either their partners or another person from the opposite sex. As sad, frightening and worrying as this statistics is, this fact is highly underestimated because it is only about forty percent of female victims report to authorities of their ordeal.
Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children
Sarah Baartman was a South African who was exploited because of her shape. She had very big breasts and massive buttocks. Her extraordinary shape attracted a freed black man who suggested her to be taken to Europe for public display in a bid to make money.
Though it is not recorded whether she agreed to the suggestion or that she was forcefully taken to Europe, there are records of grievances among slave abolitionists who believed that her display was against her fundamental human rights. It is also recorded that people paid to see her and paid extra to poke at her body. Though there were evidences that Sarah Baartman tried to take control of her life, she was exploited to the extreme due to her racial and gender status.
Motivation to start the Saartjie Baartman Centre
The center for women and children named their organization after Saartjie Baartman because she represents African femininity. The center provides 24 hours accommodation relief for women and children who ran out of home due to violence. Saartjie Baartman centre also offers free legal advice and professional empowerments to women and children who came to SBC for help. Apart from that, they offer some of their buildings for hires and can be used as catering events.
Finally, Saartjie Baartman Centre is founded in 1999 in such a way that it can easily collaborate with government, private and even individuals in achieving its mission of creating a safe and secure society and a human rights culture, where women and children are empowered to exercise their full rights.
Challenges at the early stages of Saartjie Baartman Centre and how they overcame it
The truth is that the mission and vision of SBC are quite ambitious and audacious. That is a big problem because women and children all over South Africa runs to the centre for attention. It then becomes very difficult to manage and in some case cases, there may be few places and foods to offer these despondent groups of people.
Knowing that there are people of goodwill in the world is one of the greatest consolations in the world. And the management of SBC do not take that for granted. Rather, they created an avenue where people can volunteer to work in the centre. More people who cannot presently volunteer can give out of their financial resources so that accommodation and other material goods will be constantly available for the inmates. It currently has about three official partners.
Success of Saartjie Baartman Centre including expansions
SBC has many buildings which can house 22 women and 35 children at the same time. Sometimes, these victims of violence may like to stay for more than required time, therefore the centre also provides a place where people can rent at a lower rate.
Apart from housing facilities, SBC teaches gardening and other skills that will help to enhance the financial state of their clients. Most importantly is the legal advice and assistance which they constantly offer. With quality partnership, they have been able to extend their services in a sustainable manner.
5 lessons from Saartjie Baartman Centre
#1. Every human being deserves the best treatment
Our world is not perfect and will take time before it does. Nevertheless, we do not have to wait till it becomes perfect, we just need to follow the process of civilization. This includes understanding that some people will always feel that they are more humans than others until they realize that all humans are the same and that sophistication is not a measure of humanity. SBC enthusiastically does her best to show victims of violence that despite their experience, they deserves love and attention and more, they are human beings.
#2. A world of equity and justice is possible
The activities of SBC are a significance of that joyful hope that the world of equity is possible. They could have joined their heartbroken clients to retaliate in violence but they do not because that would only result in a world of blind people as Mahatma Gandhi would say.
#3. Love matters most
The management of SBC need money and can be wealthy if they had wanted. Rather, they decided to use their human and professional means to spread love. They realize that loving and helping people to love again will bring more immense satisfaction to their lives than chasing after wealth.
#4. Change in the world starts with me but does not end there
Once you are dissatisfied with the status quo, it is an indication that you have what it takes to change the world. SBC changes the world by helping the victims of gender based violence. But they realize that they cannot do it alone ab intio. They always try to form partnerships so that their tentacles are elongated through other bodies with similar mission.
#5. Live for a cause
It is good to laud people who had come out of their ways to fight for a noble cause. At the same time, it is a clarion call for you to understand that you have to stand for something. It is more satisfactory to live for something. You should not do that only because the world will remember you. Do it because you will help to progressively push humanity forward.
During Sarah Baartman’s burial ceremony in August 9th, 2002, then president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki commented that it would only be possible to say that Sarah Baartman has truly come home when people work together to create a nonracial and gender equality statement. You may not be physically present to volunteer but you can promote Saartjie Baartman centre for women and children through your generous donations.