SASEWA – Empowering Women Informal Workers

20 July 2012

Pictured are the women who attended the workshop with Thandiwe Xulu, manager of SASEWA(Extreme right), Ronnie Peterson, Organisational Development Consultant and next to him, Mpume Danisa from SASEWASASEWA recently hosted a workshop for their members at the KwaDukuza Town hall. StreetNet International, a worker based organisation was also present to lend support to SASEWA. The South African Self-Employed Women’s Association(SASEWA) was founded in 2009 in KwaZulu Natal when there was a need for informal workers such as Street Vendors and homed based workers to have their rights represented. “The reason why we decided to focus on women exclusively is because we have observed in most cases women are single and they are bread winners for their family. Many of them are comfortable and open to discuss their challenges among themselves. It also helps to build unity amongst self-employed women, whose livelihoods are not recognised” said Thandiwe Xulu, Manager of SASEWA.

Xulu stated that is important for Street Traders to belong to such organisations as they hold regular workshops to train people about the by-laws, to deal with harassment situations which sometimes can also be caused by the police or municipalities for various reasons. Women are also helped to develop their lobbying skills, so that they can organise to get laws to change if they feel it is not suitable or there is unfair practise and to develop leadership skills among women who work outside of the formal sector.

SASEWA provide access for women to other organisations which offer facilities such as skills training, credit and loan facilities, legal assistance, health advice and assistance, relief counselling for survivors of violent attacks including rape.

“The association aims to empower women through their unity. It is run by democratic structures which are controlled by members themselves. StreetNet International helps us as an organisation to broaden, represent and network our organisation through national and international structures. I do encourage women who need assistance and support to join us if they are informal traders or home based workers,” Xulu encouraged.

For more information, please contact Thandiwe Xulu on 082 224 8509 or the SASEWA office on 031 301 3360.