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“1000 Women united against Domestic Violence & Abuse Initiative"

Back in June 2003, Wendy Ackerman joined WHEAT for a celebratory lunch at Clovelly Golf Club as Raymond Ackerman funded a golf day for all the friends of WHEAT Trust. We discussed the various ways we know of in which communities have used to unite women and at the same time mobilise valuable funds to invest in grassroots women's initiatives. We all became very enthusiastic when we learned more about Wendy Ackerman's experiences when attending an event in the USA where they sold 1000 tickets to women to attend a fundraising event. Our first question was "Could we do it?" This great idea did not get lost in time - Wendy invited me to meet the organiser of the USA event at a dinner at their home and the idea became a PLAN.

The next week I phoned a few members of the EMINENT Women Network, a network that invested in WHEAT Trust, where, within one day, we had a great working committee of 15 women; many of them with experience of domestic violence – and the theme was decided on without much discussion. The timing was also wonderful as the fist new legislation on domestic violence was passed by the South African parliament. The working group remain true to the event and volunteer their service to organise the initiative.

Our strategy included the idea to mobilise 25 more women who all attended a launch of the initiative in August 2003 at the Castle in Cape Town. All the women that attended committed that each would motivate five other women to join our initiative and to be Table Captains (Ambassadors) of the event. The one hundred women then mobilised ten women each and we organised the first event in May in 2004 at the CTICC. Without the support of the Table Captains the job would have been daunting to say the least!

In 2004 WHEAT Trust mobilised 1000 Women to Unite against Domestic Violence in Cape Town. This initiative is worth remembering for 1000 women standing together against domestic violence. Those who attended since 2004 were treated to a fantastic line-up of speakers and entertainers, including well-known diva Vicky Sampson, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Poseletso of Idols fame, Gerry Rantselli, CODA and guest speaker Irene Khan (Head of the International Human Rights Body). The initiative was organised from 2004 to 2008. (Not held in 2009-2010 because of the economic downturn). During 2010 we re-launched the initiative and mobilised more funding than expected.

Wendy Ackerman and I were joined by many prominent women who supported the initiative annually. Wendy Luhabe, Maria Ramos, Nolitha Fakude, Helen Zille, Pam Golding, Joan Armatrading, Tina Eboka, Lynne Brown, Tannie Evita (Pieter Dirk Uys) , Pregs Govender, and Gertrude Fester have been among the many prominent women that supported this initiative. 
More importantly, the profits from this event will strengthen women-led initiatives across the country that work tirelessly to bring hope, protection and knowledge to women living in abusive relationships. Our theory for change is that if women have access to resources, skills and information they will take advantage of strategic opportunities to advance human rights for women.

After a very successful initiative in 2014 and celebration of the 10th anniversary of the initiative the 1000 Women Trust was registered to mobilise women to join the initiative, to show solidarity and to invest in grassroots women who work hard to eradicate violence against women and children.

Women's Hope Education and Training Trust is a partner of the 1000 Women Trust and has been appointed as the grantmaking partner.
The patron Wendy Ackerman (Pick n Pay) and Trustees Tina Thiart and Mpho Mashengete are inviting all women to join 1000 Women 1 Voice Initiative
Become an Ambassador and add your voice and motivate your company to invest in women.

Tina Thiart,

1000 Women Trust

Contact: tina@1000women.co.za