Alvina Noch used her story of overcoming abuse to start an NPO that now supports victims of gender-based violence. Picture: Leon Lestrade
Alvina Noch used her story of overcoming abuse to start an NPO that now supports victims of gender-based violence. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Artscape Women’s Humanity Walk shares stories about women making a difference

By Keshia Africa Time of article published Aug 10, 2021

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Alvina Noch of Mitchells Plain found redemption through sharing her story and empowering other women. Noch will be part of this year’s Artscape Women’s Humanity Walk.

Sexually assaulted as a teenager, she used drugs and lived on the streets. But the single mother, who has an 18-year-old son, turned her life around 12 years ago and is the founder of non-profit New Creations Outreach, which helps victims of gender-based violence, supports them during court cases, offers trauma counselling and healing.

Noch is one the women who has been invited to share their stories through a podcast called Woman Zone Stories. The project is part of Woman Zone’s celebration of Women’s Month in collaboration with the Artscape’s 15th annual Women’s Humanity Arts Festival. Since the walk had to be held virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic, women are encouraged to take a walk in their neighbourhood for 3 kilometres or 30 minutes and share an image or video of it online, while sharing their story.

Noch reflected on how she slept on cardboard piuces at night when she lived on the streets, trying to keep warm with newspapers.

“I was involved in gang activities and also ventured into Satanism at the time that led to multiple suicide attempts,” she said.

“I was raped for more than five years of my life because I ended up dating an abuser,” she said.

Noch was silenced by the manwho abused her, who threatened to kill her if she exposed the truth.

“I have been clean for 12 years now. I never went to rehab and I believe that God saved me. I was 23-years-old when things turned around for me.”

She added: “My boyfriend beat me to a pulp, and I returned to my family home, telling them that I was ready to change. Later that week I went to church and nothing has been the same since.”

Noch said she was proud of how New Creations Outreach helped other women.

“We have so many young girls and women going through similar struggles like what I did, but they don’t know how to navigate it.”

Noch described her journey as going from a “silent sufferer to an activist”.

She said: “I am here to break the stigma. People shame women who have experienced sexual assault, and we are here to break the silence.”

Noch’s advice to other silent sufferers is to find someone they could trust to share their story with.

“There are organisations like our NPO that are bound by confidentiality. Build up the confidence to speak to someone and don’t give up.

This Women’s Month, the country celebrates 65 years since Rahima Moosa, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophia Williams led the 1956 Women's March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Woman Zone is fulfilling their vision by uniting and empowering women through their stories.

Founded in 2012 by Nancy Richards, Woman Zone was created as a space where women could safely share their stories and have their voices heard.

Richards described the idea of Woman Zone as a place where women could tell each other their stories, have their voices heard and be respected.

Woman Zone would usually meet at various locations in different communities around Cape Town. “It might be an ambitious goal, but this has been our way of uniting women in Cape Town. We get to meet people we wouldn’t normally meet,” she said.

“This was our way of still getting our stories out there.”

☻Women are being invited to walk in their own ’hood for 3kms or 30 minutes. They can walk and talk with a friend, record it, either as a video clip or selfie, and post it with their names and hashtag #Artscape50 #WomensHumanityWalk2021 on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter as well as tag @artscapetheatrecentre @womanzonect and if possible, recount what they have learnt from each other along the way. The posts will be collated to appear on Artscape’s website and social media platforms during Women’s Month.

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