All the Latest Business Aids for African Women

Women in Africa have gradually been empowering themselves over the past few years, by building their own cottage industries, providing employment for others in their communities and ultimately putting food on the table for their families. Many countries in Africa are some of the poorest in the world. HIV/Aids has devastated the lives of millions of families in African countries, often leaving women as the sole breadwinners and providers for young children. The continent’s history is one of continuous turmoil and instability, most likely a result of the original colonization by Western settlers. The continent has been ravaged by civil wars, drought, famine and disease. Young women and adolescent girls still remain the most susceptible to HIV. Recent research tells us that 80% of all women suffering from HIV, live in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately local culture is the leading contributing factor to these statistics. An African woman is expected to remain faithful to her husband, regardless of infidelity or abuse, whilst men are encouraged to take multiple sexual partners and engage in unprotected sex. Lack of access to adequate healthcare and the cultural taboo concerning contraception also has a huge negative impact on African women’s ability to avoid infection.

adolescent african aids

The is a overwhelming amount of research evidence that points to the direct correlation between education and HIV infection rates in young African women. The research shows that when girls attend school they are far less likely to fall pregnant and marry at a young age. Unfortunately more than eighty percent of adolescent girls do not have the opportunity to complete secondary education and more than a third of them are illiterate. Even the girls that do complete their schooling are not sufficiently educated about the dangers of unprotected nor do they receive even the most basic of sex education. Statistics show that less than thirty percent of young women in sub-saharan Africa know how to prevent HIV infection. Societal pressures are strongly stacked against young African women. One alarming statistic from a survey conducted in South Africa reported that over thirty percent of sexual assault survivors were raped either at school or in the nearby vicinity.

African Schoolgirls

On a more positive note, in January 2015, the African Union announced it’s commitment to improving conditions for African women, declaring 2015 as the “Year of Women’s Empowerment”. Governments across the continent are beginning to recognize the the urgent need to tackle the extreme gender inequalities that exist and commit to working towards providing women with equal access to education, opportunities and services. Tackling issues like child marriage, physical abuse of women, abusive tribal traditions and basic education are on top of the agenda. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, a veteran campaigner for the rights of African women, recently stated at a press conference : “The leaders need to know that the young women and girls are here and they are not a statistic. The leaders need to create time to meet, dialogue, listen and then act.”. Organizations like FAWE(Forum for African Women Educationalists) are making tremendous progress in promoting gender equality and education in Africa, and have facilitated the training of over 6500 new teachers since 2005.

Vital Voices is a global organization which focuses on identifying small businesses operated by women and providing support in the form of training and encouragement. By mentoring these small micro businesses, they help build the women’s leadership skills and tackle the barriers they face.

ASFAG is committed to supporting women from impoverished communities and providing them with business aids and information that can empower them, and assist them in starting their own small business or  growing their existing business. We continue to provide access to new information that can aid entrepreneurs in starting up.


Providing Employment and Skills for African Women

Widespread unemployment on the African continent is the largest cause of poverty and hunger in the region. Countless children go hungry every day in sub Saharan Africa as result of their parents being unable to find employment. There is a desperate need for business incentives and incentives for foreign investment to stimulate growth in small business and in the economies in general. There are a few noticeable pioneers though, that despite the difficulties and operational obstacles that may exist, have managed to thrive in these adverse conditions and provide much needed relief and employment to those living in the communities they operate from. One such notable business is The Sugar Crystal Company of Cape Town, South Africa. This relatively young and self funded company has been pioneering some innovative new processes in the mass production of sugar swizzle sticks for the retail and catering sectors.

sugar crystal company

Since the company was founded fifteen years ago by a Cape Town entrepreneur, it has gradually grown into one of the worlds top manufacturers and suppliers of rock candy and sugar swizzle sticks. The company has perfected the process of growing sugar crystals using raw sugar in a very short period of time. This is not a very common industry and the hard work and dedication put in by the team at the Sugar Crystal Company has yielded a winning formula that is a closely guarded secret. From humble beginnings the factory has has grown, doubled then doubled again in size. As the sugar swizzle sticks produced by the company improved in quality and they managed to streamline their production costs, so their market share increased at an extremely healthy rate. The company is emphatic in giving back to the community and provides many African women with a much needed source of income. The sugar swizzle sticks and rock candy sweets these ladies are a part of manufacturing are all made and packaged with beaming faces and a sense of pride. The Sugar Crystal Company has with the help of these dedicated women, emerged as the only manufacturer of swizzle sticks in South Africa.

Besides the natural flavored traditional sugar swizzle sticks that are utilized in the catering industry by upmarket coffee shops and hotels, they also manufacture a range of brightly colored and fruity flavored rock candy swizzle sticks that have become increasingly popular. During a recent interview, the company owner, Richard Morris, was reported as saying that the flavored range of swizzle sticks made up more than fifty percent of the gross product exported by the company. Raw sugar is the primary ingredient used in the production of the sugar swizzle sticks so South Africa is a great location for the factory. Mauritius is another large volume sugar producing country that could well be the home of the next factory that the company would build, should the demand for their quality product continue to grow at the rate it has for the past five years.

Dealing with Divorce – Dr Maryke Woolf

According to Statistics South Africa, the number of divorces in the country has increased by more than 5 percent. Many people believe that the current generation are just not prepared to work on their marriages as much as those who have come before them. The problem in with many marriages is that after the initial period of infatuation is over, the communication skills and true compatibility of the marital couple is put to the test. Poor communication skills is one of the leading causes of the breakdown of a marriage. Statistics from 2012 revel that while there were more than one hundred and sixty thousand marriages that year, there were also over twenty three thousand divorces. Relationship counsellors and psychologists agree that the number of divorces could be reduced if the couples were willing to undergo some form of therapy. Dr Maryke Woolf is a Newlands based psychologist that also treats patients from Claremont, Rondebosch and suburbs close by. “Most of the divorces we see, involve couples that have been married between four and ten years, where the average age for the husband is forty four years of age, and the wife thirty nine years.”. Over fifty five percent of these divorces affected children under the age of sixteen.

Dr Woolf works from her private practice in Newlands. She completed her Masters degree in Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch before doing further community service. Maryke believes that for the therapeutic process to be beneficial to the patients, it is critical that a non judgemental space is provided where the patient feels safe and able to open up to somebody they trust. The strength of the relationship between herself as the psychologist, and the patient is of paramount importance. Maryke uses a variety of modalities, including the psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural therapy frameworks. In order to set a firm foundation for the process, Maryke uses the first two sessions to gain a thorough understanding of the difficulties the patient or couple are experiencing. The dynamics between human beings and marital couples vary from one relationship to the next, so there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to counselling patients or couples. Each situation needs to be carefully evaluated in order to determine the best means of making progress. Maryke’s practice is registered with the Board of Healthcare Funders which means that patients are able to claim back fees charged from their medical aids, provided that they cover psychological treatment.

Dr Maryke Woolf is a respected Newlands psychologist that deals not only with couples and relationship counselling but a wide variety of difficulties experienced by patients that require attention. These services she provides include helping those dealing with grief and loss, stress, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, trauma and many other psychological related issues. Maryke’s billing is in accordance with the prescribed South African Medical Aid rates. Billing can be settled by EFT or cash payment. A small discount is offered on cash payments.

Divorce is in some cases the only way to put an end to a marriage that stands no chance of surviving, particularly where there is physical and mental abuse. However there are many cases where a marriage can be saved, if the couple are willing to put in the effort to try and work through their difficulties and learn ways of communicating with each other.

psychologist maryke woolf

Safe haven for Recovering Addicts

Cape Town Sober House

Introducing Scotswood Retreat in Constantia, Cape Town. This holiday destination is well known for the world class quality of rehabilitation centers it is home to. Each year hundreds of Britons and citizens of other countries in the European Union travel to this beautiful city in the hope of finding a new way of life, to break free of the grip of addiction. Addiction effects people from all walks of life. Addiction does not discriminate between race, color, sex or religion. When the term addiction is used most people immediately think of a drug addict with a needle in his arm with only himself to blame. Addiction however comes in many shapes and sizes and is not limited to just the use of illegal street narcotics. There are many behaviors or process addictions that can also render people helpless and enslaved to repeating the same harmful act over and over again with full knowledge of its negative consequences but helpless to act differently. Scotswood Retreat provides a safe space for people that are struggling to reintegrate into society after spending some time in a rehabilitation center. Many recovering addicts find themselves at a loss after leaving a treatment center. Their old lives are just too full of triggers that remind them of their previous negative behaviors and pose a serious risk for relapse. Scotswood is a sober house in Cape Town that provides a safe and peaceful environment for these recovering addicts to thrive and build a steady foundation to grow on. The retreat is set in an old tastefully  refurbished farmhouse in Constantia, Cape Town. Scotswood can accommodate a total of eight people in total and offers an assortment of amenities and facilities. The house is professionally serviced three times per week and cooked evening meals are provided from Sunday through to Friday. The house is equipped with free Wifi and DSTV and has beautiful gardens with a swimming pool. There are also trained staff on the property that are available to help residents discuss any difficulties they may be experiencing in their recovery. Scotswood is conveniently situated close to shopping centers, restaurants and coffee shops.