Josina Z. Machel, stepdaughter of the late South Africa President Nelson Mandela, lost her eyesight in 2015 after being severely beaten by her then-partner, a Mozambican businessman. She hopes to use her story to make an impact as the keynote speaker at the seventh annual Hope Rising SOHO Gala Dinner, set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian St., in Carmel.
“We’re honoring a prominent African woman with an impactful story as a victim herself,” said Wassema Ali, gala chair. “I think many people will be able to relate to her on a human level. For her to go through what she went through and come out of it with a focus and optimism she has would be such a missed opportunity if we didn’t celebrate that more in Carmel.”
SOHO, or Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach, is committed to helping children in Africa. The gala is a black-tie event hosted by Cindy Simon Skojodt.
“SOHO is headquartered in Indianapolis. They do peer-to-peer work in Indianapolis but a lot of their work is actually in Swaziland in Africa,” Ali said. “Their mission is to improve the lives of orphaned children and vulnerable children, especially child-headed households, in areas affected by HIV/AIDS. The programs work to educate, heal, feed, empower and nurture.”
SOHO has discovered a high level of sexual abuse in young women and girls in Swaziland, Ali said.
“As of recently, SOHO is attempting to build safe houses in a village called Nhlambeni,” Ali said. “They have been able to secure the land, but one of the goals of the gala is to raise the funds to start building a few safe houses. They will house about six girls per house with a caretaker in each.”
Tickets are $25 for students or $100 per person. To purchase tickets, visit sohogala.eventbrite.com.