Trigger Warning: this article discusses gender-based violence and domestic abuse against women, though no graphic details are shared
Welcome to Fanlanthropy – a heartwarming series here at The Honey POP where we shine a light on incredible stans who are using the power of fandom to do good in the world and help out important causes. Fandoms are super powerful in sharing information and working on projects, so using those impressive skills for a good cause ends in some great results.
In South Africa, gender-based violence (GBV), in particular violence against women (VAW), is a persistent threat to women and has infiltrated all aspects of the lived experience of women including in school, at home, and in the public sector. Though the media, communities, and government responses aren’t reflecting it, it’s deeply ingrained within cultures and traditions in South Africa. While it proves difficult to obtain accurate statistics, it is evident that across the country, the rates are high. Population-based surveys have shown a staggering level of intimate partner violence (IPV). And though people of all genders perpetrate and experience IPV, men are more often the perpetrators, with women and children as the victims. It has been reported that between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical IPV in their lifetime, and just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime.
The Justice Desk is a human rights NPO and has created The Mbokodo Club, which focuses on offering female empowerment, leadership, and self-defense workshops to girl survivors of GBV in Nyanga, the murder capital of South Africa. They promote self-defense, self-care, and mental health support as they equip young girls in order to defend themselves and live empowered lives. As one of the many philanthropy projects from the fandom, several BTS fanbases have joined together to create a fundraiser for the project. We spoke to Luke, the creator of the fundraiser.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi! I’m Luke Waltham. I’m a student, a writer, blogger, and activist for social justice and human rights! I’ve been a proud member of BTS ARMY for nearly 4 years and I constantly support and listen to BTS for inspiration and peace of mind.
You have collaborated together with different BTS ARMY fanbases to support The Justice Desk’s Mbokodo Project. What inspired you to create this fundraiser?
This is an important collaboration that we’ve organized with The Justice Desk, BTSARMYZA, Bangtan Moonlight SA, Bangtan UK, and UK BTS ARMATION! We were inspired to create this fundraiser because of BTS’s own #EndViolence campaign which aims to address violence against women and children. The Justice’s Desk Mbokodo Project is one of these projects which not only supports the #EndViolence campaign but enshrines the very message and goals of BTS’ philanthropy work of making a safer, inclusive society for all.
What can you tell us about The Mbokodo Club? How will the funds support them?
The Mbokodo Project is the Justice Desk’s women empowerment and anti-gender-based violence project which seeks to equip young women and girls with the skills of self-care, self-defense, and upholding their mental well-being. The project has successfully inspired and motivated participants in the project to become young, pro-active leaders in their communities. For every R50 donated, it will help skills training for mothers; for every R100 donated, it will provide human rights training for a child; for every R150 donated, it will empower men and boys to defend equality in the Ntsika yeThemba project; for every R200 donated, it will support a young woman or girl in the Mbokodo Club.
BTS are famously known for their charitable efforts and philanthropy. How would you say they have inspired you?
BTS have always been outspoken when it comes to raising awareness about social issues and making a difference. Their Love Yourself era was a major moment in my own life too since it gave me the confidence and reassurance that all the social impact and outreach truly make a difference in people’s lives and we can work collectively to empower ourselves and others. Namjoon’s speech at the United Nations was a historical moment that initiated an important journey of reflection, self-love, and being a changemaker.
We know how powerful fandoms are, what do you think about fandoms and the importance of using their platforms for vital causes such as this one?
I believe fandoms, such as ARMY have a lot of social capital to make a difference. What is special about ARMY is that we consist of a diverse, empathetic, and empowering community of people who intentionally and genuinely want to implement BTS’s message. Therefore, when you have an authentic group of people wanting to make a difference, you’ll be able to bring about the change that is needed for human rights and social justice
How can people support your project?
We’ve tried to make the donation process as accessible as possible. You can donate by:
- Log onto your PayPal
- Use The Justice Desk’s email as the recipient of your donation
- Donate £5 or R100
- Email proof of donation to the The Justice Desk email
Alternatively, you can visit The Justice Desk’s website and donate via their donate link! Also, we completely understand in these difficult times that not everyone can donate, so if you want to spread awareness by sharing our campaign, then we encourage you to do so!
Thanks, Luke! We know BTS will be so proud!
Will you be supporting this project? Do you know of other fandoms doing good? Let us know down in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!
Need more BTS in your life? We gotchu
Wondering what your fandoms are doing for good causes? Find out here
Featured Image Source: Bibi Lara