History, Mission and Vision


POWA was formed in 1979 by a group of women volunteers in order to provide referral services and shelter to women experiencing domestic violence. POWA was the first organisation to establish a shelter for abused women in 1981, and pioneered second stage (or transitional) housing for women in 2009 in Gauteng. The direct services delivery component of the organisation forms the basis of and informs all advocacy interventions, at local, nation and regional level.

With over 30 years of history behind us, we have become an organization that is considered to be an expert on issues of women’s rights we are consulted by the private sector, government and civil society on educational and decision-making matters pertaining to women’s safety and enjoyment of their rights.


To be a feminist organisation that provides professional services that comprise of advocacy, training, psycho-social support, legal and sheltering to survivors of violence. POWA is committed to enhancing the quality of life of all women and girls.


A safe and equal society intolerant of all forms of violence against women and girls in all our diversity, where we are treated with respect and dignity and our rights are promoted. 


Some of the notable achievements include:

Opening the first shelter for abused women in South Africa in 1981, and the first Gauteng based second stage (or transitional) housing scheme for women in 2009.

  • Building the capacity of emerging organizations in Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga provinces, which in turn leads to better access for women from rural and under-resourced areas.
  • Ensuring greater access to justice and legal services for women.
  • Jozi Award Community Development Award 2015
    : POWA
  • Gauteng Department of Social Development
    MEC Mazibuko 2015 Gauteng Care Givers Awards
    : POWA
  • In recognition of women for making the difference by contributing positively towards moving Gauteng City Region Forward
    Human Rights & Democracy Award 2004
    Gender Equality Award
    Organisational category
    : POWA
  • Contributing to the law – making process around Domestic Violence Act, Sexual Offences Act and to monitoring the implementation of these laws.
  • Ensuring women have greater economic independence through providing skills and income generation infrastructure which has led to women survivors of SGBV from Katlehong being awarded a tender for school uniforms.