The Women’s Circle (TWC)
The Women’s Circle (TWC) is a network of community based ‘women’s circles’ established in 2006. TWC provides services to learning circles located in Delft, Stattice Heights and Phillipi and Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats in the Western Cape Province.
The organisation aims to build the capacity of women by providing access to information and learning opportunities that will increase the ability of women to participate more effectively in public life / society. TWC establishes contacts with relevant organisations working in a participatory mode of learning / action and negotiates workshops and courses of interest and releance to particlar circles.
Building activism through engaging in social action are key activities for individual and collective growth. (Learning by doing) Therefore, TWC organises / assists cicrles to organise opportunities for participants to practice what they have learnt through engaging in social action. Women’s month and 16 Days of Activism are used by the organisation as platforms to raise awareness and to provide access to education on a range of topics e.g. health, health rights etc.
Participants of TWC are working-class women of all ages, ranging from yoth to elders. Most are unemployed and economically insecure; many have experienced considerable hardship and trauma due to the violent and poor contexts in which they work. They confront the common issues of abuse, drugs, gangs, teenage pregnancies in their daily lives – but respond with resilience, determination to affect change, and hope for better futures for themselves and their communities.
Topics are identified by the community based participating learning circles. They include social issues such as drugs, gangs, domestic violence and child abuse, as much as unemployment, housing and health.
The process of learning / teaching is participatory, following a learning cycle where participants try to make sense of the world byt relaing their own expeiriences to wider / public issues. This can lead to new understandings of their problems and after testing in practice the new knowledge they have acquired, they can decide which action they can take to tackle their problems.
Community based learning circles act in various ways, examples are neighbourhood watches to combat crime, engaging in research by taking photographs to voice health problems in communities etc.