The African Sunrise team are always looking for new ways to help raise awareness of important issues in our community, both locally and beyond. That's why we'll be publishing a series of blogs on Women in Business. As an all-female company, we feel it's appropriate to help other women be recognised for their achievements.
The lady who we have selected to be our Women in Business ambassador this week – Sheradia Brown, Breaking Bread Community Development.
What's Your Role at Breaking Bread Community Development?
I'm a co-director for Breaking Bread with CJ and Martyn. I also run the Feeding Programme every day out of my home. We don't have a building yet, but we hope to find somewhere this year, where we can set up a soup kitchen and do community work.
I do other work in my community in Salt River, working with the kids, women and street people. I did this before Breaking Bread, and I'm happy I can continue working with them. I have done family reunion work and liaised with social workers.
What other work do you do in your community of Salt River?
I have helped people get off the street to find work. Many of them have alcohol and drug problems, so I try and find them help. I am part of the Salt River Neighbourhood watch, and I take part if area patrols. I attend community meetings to see if there is anything I can help out with.
There isn't much for the local kids to do during the school holidays. When Breaking Bread has volunteers or interns, we take the kids out for activity days and trips to fun places. I've always worked with the underprivileged people in my community in Salt River and Observatory.
What made you want to create your own NPO?
My passion for people, especially street people, the elderly and children. Working with vulnerable people and doing whatever possible for them. We (Breaking Bread team) were also worried about the lack of food our people were receiving. It wasn't enough. We were only doing the Friday meals in Observatory, but I made the decision to start cooking and feeding people from my home.
Why do you think it's important that more women like yourself start their own NPOs and enterprises?
To let their communities grow and to spread the love between the people. And to do it for love, not to make money. It should always be from a place of love and understanding. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong in their community.
Do you feel like the government or local authorities do enough to support women in business?
No, there doesn't seem to be specific support for women starting their own businesses. And not just for women in business, there is no specific assistance for women and children on the street.
There was a fire near us in Salt River lately. I've been down there every day helping the people, trying to make sure they have clothes, food, something to eat and to make sure they're okay. Not once have I seen or spoken to anyone from the City. Not once.
Breaking Bread did a smaller donation drive, and Ackermans in Bellville was kind enough to donate clothing and blankets. We do things like this as often as we can, as well as doing our Feeding Programme.
Do you feel like they do enough to support women in general?
No, definitely not. Especially for the women on the street. The organisations that do work with women and kids from the street are doing amazing work. But there is never enough places for women with small children, and because the father can't stay, the families are broken up. The women often leave to keep their families together.
There are also terrible situations for rape sufferers – no one listens to them if they're on the street.
What's on the horizon for Breaking Bread?
We are hoping to have a building of our own this year. This will be for a soup kitchen and a community centre. A place where people can eat inside and feel like people care about them. Somewhere for the kids to do their homework.
We want to build a better place for the street people, making better living conditions. To grow our community and work with other organisations to help them do the same. Most of all – to help everyone live better lives.
The African Sunrise team would like to thank Sheradia for her time speaking to us about her role at Breaking Bread, and the amazing work she does in her community. She's a truly inspiring, passionate, and caring women. Her love and strength shine through everything she does, and we need more people like her in our communities.