Home Lifestyle Ten Years of Honouring Cape Winelands’ Inspirational Women

Ten Years of Honouring Cape Winelands’ Inspirational Women

Albernita Francis and Christiana Leonard

The Cape Winelands is rich in inspiring women doing good in their communities.

For the past ten years, Valcare, a nonprofit operating throughout this region, has run a women’s empowerment initiative honouring such women.

The Proteas of the Valley initiative spotlights everyday women doing extraordinary work. These women run soup kitchens, provide social services and safe spaces or initiate community development.

Previous Proteas of the Valley are fierce women who conquer challenges and flourish despite facing difficult conditions. This initiative aims to give women a platform to share their stories.

“We want to give women in the valley a space to share their stories, bring hope to others and inspire us with their strength. That is why, ten years later, we are still running the Proteas of the Valley initiative,” says Jolanda van der Lingen, Valcare’s Relationship Manager.

The public nominates the Proteas. The 15 women selected are then honoured throughout Women’s Month in August. Valcare gives these women the opportunity to share their stories in the media.

Christiana Leonard, a social auxiliary worker at Franschhoek Hospice, says Proteas of the Valley allowed her to do more good in her community.

“Being selected as a Protea was wonderful. I still cherish the whole experience. It elevated my standing in the community, opening doors for me to impact even more lives.”

The chosen Proteas all have one thing in common—they have faced and overcome tremendous hardships in life. These hardships have shaped them into strong women who are giving and courageous.

Albernita Francis, an aftercare facilitator and life skills development champion in Paarl, says becoming a Protea was an eye-opening experience.

“Telling my story was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. Although I had to revisit dark places in my past, sharing my story was cathartic. Hopefully, it inspired others to look past their hardships to help others.”

Nominate Your Protea of the Valley

If you know of an incredible woman in the Cape Winelands doing amazing things in her community, nominate them by 4 July 2022. Find the nomination form at valcare.org.za/proteasofthevalley.

Text: Editorial Desk | Images: Supplied