The founder of a South-Wales based charity set up to support, empower and protect women worldwide will travel to South Africa next week to help The Black Mambas which is the country’s first all-female anti-poaching unit protecting the rhino.
Paula Abbandonato who lives and works in Caerphilly established A-Sisterhood this spring as the charitable partner to her work in event management. She will spend time with the women of The Black Mambas to find out more about their role which has been successful in seeing a decrease of 63 per cent in the region’s rhino poaching since their inception.
The Black Mambas concept was founded in 2013 and now protects all boundaries of the 52,000 ha Balule Nature Reserve which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The money donated by A-Sisterhood will be used for a number of purposes by The Black Mambasincluding buying their winter uniform which keeps them warm at night as they patrol the borders of the game reserves that they protect.
Paula said: “The Black Mambas are not only concerned with the protection of rhinos but also in making role models out of these women in their local communities. What we particularly love is that little girls in the region are now seeing that they can grow up to have traditionally male jobs with good incomes and that is inspiring them.”
While in South Africa, Paula will spend time with the Black Mambas and will also go out to schools as part of the charity’s Bush Babies Programme which is developing a conservation philosophy within communities by targeting the future leaders of society through education.
Paula will also visit India next month to support female survivors of acid violence in Delhi, Agra and Lucknow. It will be the third year running that funds raised through her work have resulted in a significant donation to Stop Acid Attacks and in particular their Sheroes Hangout Cafes which employ acid attack survivors and enable them to earn a living and become active members of their communities once again.
Paula said: “I have been to India twice before to donate to the charity and meet with the founders of Stop Acid Attacks and the girls they support. They really are the most inspirational of people.”
Last month A-Sisterhood also donated money to Llamau in Cardiff to help their women’s services projects and also to The National FGM Centre in London which Paula will also be visiting this week to learn more about their work.
Paula said: “I’ve long been a feminist and through my day job which is predominantly female-focused I have been able to extend this interest into something more worthwhile. Our name has come from putting together the words ‘assist’ and ‘sisterhood’ as I feel that those of us who are privileged enough to be the beneficiaries of feminism should support other women to advance.
“I have many people to thank for supporting A-Sisterhood this year in particular the local Indian community of South Wales and the finalists of Miss Universe Great Britain 2018 whose support has allowed us to help women both home and away.”