A new season for Dawn

Sharing ideas on how to help abuse victims. From left, Loyiso Ndaliso, of Khulisa Social Solutions; Khanyisa Mbangi, programme director of the workshop; Captain Ezra October, from Cape Town Central SAPS, Nolubabalo Mtyotywa, from The Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture; Zintle Nckimase, of the Born Victorious Movement; magistrate Alta le Roux, of the Cape Town Family Court, and Amy Shackelford, of the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town.

After nearly 24 years of dedicating her life to helping others, Dawn Fish, 51, from NPO Mosaic in Wynberg is retiring.

Ms Fish has been instrumental in various projects and programmes involving women’s rights and domestic abuse across the Cape.

She was part of the first group of women who were trained by Mosaic in 1995.

It was a difficult time for the then 27-year-old who had divorced from her husband just a month prior, after 12 years of abuse.

“Someone told me they were advertising to train people and I applied and eventually was selected and that’s when my journey began,” she said.

For 10 years, Ms Fish worked in the Mitchell’s Plain area doing counselling, workshops, support groups and building relationships with different departments and organisations. She was also one of those instrumental in starting the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Women Abuse.

“Those were very radical times where we hounded perpetrators with the police, arrested them. We were threatened, had placard demonstrations and marches and started a group called Abuse Truth Action Committee (ATAC) where we would hold departments and people accountable for service delivery,” she said.

She then became a trainer and helped start the court support programme where she would assist abused women.

“I could relate because I understood the trauma, fear and insecurities these women had. I found these women there every day. A magistrate came to me and he offered us a room in the court for us to work from,” said Ms Fish.

She then went on to train other court support workers who are now in most of the courts in the Western Cape. Later she worked in management.

Even though she’s leaving Mosaic, Ms Fish said her commitment to serve still stands.

“This is not the end of the road for me. I hope to leave a legacy. I came to Mosaic voiceless, powerless and directionless and I have all of that now. I have gained so much more and I’m excited about the future.

“The skills that I have acquired cannot go to waste. I know that I still have a role to play and I can still help where I can. God has something in store for me and I’m waiting on him to show me what my next season has in store but this is what I want to keep doing,” she said.

She thanked everyone who has been on her journey and supported her.

At a thanksgiving celebration held on Tuesday April 30, Charles Nicholas said helping people was Dawn’s calling.

“We were involved with the victim support group in Grassy Park and Dawn was instrumental in helping us. She kept motivating us to not give up, she inspires everyone that comes her way and has done so much for so many people. She has done great things and she will go on to do more great things,” said Mr Nicholas.