Inspiring Agents of Change

Strike a woman and you strike … Rock Girl,
a campaign to help women become stronger and take back their communities.

Founded by human rights lawyer India Baird and Karina Turok, Rock Girl is a grassroots movement created to inspire girls to be agents of change by taking back their space and forming pockets of safety within their own communities in Cape Town and across South Africa – while raising awareness about violence and how to deal with it.

An initiative by a group of young girls inspired Rock Girl to help give them their own safe space within their primary school in Manenberg.

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Designing safe spaces for women

 Tomorrow, 9 August 2011, is Women’s Day in South Africa – but celebrations started early in Cape Town with Freeworld Design Centre’s fundraising auction for the Safe Spaces campaign, an awareness initiative around the need to create safe environments for young women. On Thursday, 4 August 2011, around 350 people, including City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille, gathered to show their support for this worthy initiative.

On auction were soccer balls transformed by 46 talented local  designers and creatives into works of art. Participating artists included those well-known, such as political satirist Zapiro; award-winning author Lauren Beukes (the recent recipient of the Arthur C Clarke Award); and Conrad Botes of Bitterkomix fame; as well as up-and-coming, such as Gabrielle Raaff and Francois van Reenen. All were given a (mostly) indestructible soccer ball from Grassroot Soccer – an organisation that uses soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilise communities to stop the spread of HIV – which they then had to redesign as a collectible artwork…

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Rock Girl Safe Spaces

… This initiative seeks to reduce the incidence of violence in characteristcally unsafe areas by creating “safe spaces”. With the help of various artists and designers, women and girls in the community co-create unique benches which are then strategically placed in hand-picked, underprivileged areas and serve to represent a place of refuge for anyone in need.

For each safe space created with its ROCK Girl bench, a “sister” bench is placed in a prominent position within the city. Not only are these identical sister benches a work of art, they also create awareness of the help that is available within such communities.

Travelstart is proud to be a sponsor in this project. Our benches will be placed near our office in Cape Town’s city centre with its sister bench at Thembalitsha’s School of Hope…

The full article is available online

Celebration of spring and Women’s Day

Also celebrating Women’s Day, the opening will be in aid of the Safe Spaces Campaign, a charity initiative raising awareness about the personal safety of girls and women. Some 45 creatives, including Zapiro, Conrad Botes, Brandt Botes, Skinny laMinx, Charles Maggs, Lauren Beukes and Tracy Lynch have been enlisted to design unique artworks out of yellow soccer balls. These artworks will be auctioned at the launch.

At the event you can also enjoy a skills demo by Grass Roots Soccer, form a human chain across the Fanwalk pedestrian bridge and listen to guest speaker executive major Patricia de Lille. Visit Freeworld’s website for more details.