We had the opportunity to sit down with a truly inspirational woman, Baboletse, from WAR. Baboletse’s relationship with WAR began in 2005 when she started volunteering in the office. After three years, she was promoted to ‘Shelter Matron’ and she has been working at the shelter ever since.
The shelter matron is responsible to oversee the wellbeing of women and child residing in WAR’s shelter; an immense responsibility. Baboletse explains: “You have to welcome the clients when they arrive, give them a tour, read them the regulations and rules of the shelter, and help to teach them skills. You are also the gardener, the cleaner, and the cook.”
However, the role of shelter matron extends beyond supervisor. “If there are just kids, you are there as the house mother. You do everything for them” she says, “laundry, cooking, preparing for school and even doing assignments with them when they come back from school.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge is accommodating many different people. “We accept women, kids who come alone with no parents, and women with their kids” she says, “so you have to teach them all that we have to be one family; we have to be there for one another. When one is sick, we have to stand together.”
This goal presents challenges when dealing with people daily. “Sometimes there are some that don’t want to do their duties” she explains, “one can wake up with a mood and you have to talk to her and find a way to bring her back.”
Despite these challenges, WAR’s shelter is a necessary part of the organization’s fight against gender-based violence. “I’m proud to work at WAR,” Baboletse declares boldly, “WAR has opened my eyes…WAR taught me to be a strong woman; WAR taught me to be an independent woman; WAR taught me to know that women should not depend on men. Even if you are married, you should work hard, you should not just say, ‘I am married.’”
Baboletse explains, “I chose to work hard… I was working and volunteering with my whole heart at WAR. When they saw that, they thought, ‘we can use her, she’s got skills, she can work.’ That’s why they promoted me.”