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Safe homes playing vital role in Nimroz women’s safety

Safe homes playing vital role in Nimroz women’s safety

Nov 01, 2015 - 15:58

ZARANJ (Pajhwok): The Nida-i-Zan (voice of women) Organization (VoW) through its safe homes project has rejoined 150 women with their families in southwestern Nimroz province.

While some women, including two foreigners, are still living in the safe homes, awaiting their families to join them.

The safe home project was initiated in 2012 in Nimroz to provide medical and legal assistance to victims of domestic violence besides literacy and vocational training.

Khalil Ahmad Aziz, an official of the organization, said as many as 100 women had so far been provided shelter at the safe homes after they fled family violence, eloped or faced other similar problems.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News 38 women and 12 children, who lost their way during illegal trips to Iran, were reunited with their families through the safe homes.

Around 20 women were trained in vocational skills, awareness about human rights and household responsibilities.

According to Azizi, currently 10 women and four children were living in the safe homes and they would also be reunited with their families soon.

He said two foreign women were also living in the shelter house and they were trying to find their families through their countries embassies in Afghanistan.

Azizi said when they first launched the safe homes project, they faced opposition from local people, but people remained calm after they witnessed services the facility offered.

Fatima, 40, a resident of Zaranj, the provincial capital, said her husband would beat her without any reason and therefore she and her daughter got refuge in the safe homes.

After 20 years of her marriage, she approached the police who sent her to the safe homes.

“After one month, I returned to my home and found that the situation has changed. I begin a new life and my husband has also changed a lot. Officials of the safe homes would visit my house to assess my husband’s behavior.”

Nimroz women’s affairs director Amina Hakimi said the USAID-funded women’s shelter home played an important role in resolving women’s problems. She said women in the safe homes were taught about their rights in family.

According to her department, 80 cases of violence against women, including three murders and one self-burning, were registered this year while the number of such cases last year was 60. Other cases included beating, eloping, underage marriages, divorce and others.

Hakimi linked the increase in violence against women to poverty, joblessness and drug addiction. “We are campaigning from village to village and door to door to aware women about their husband rights and the men about their wives rights,” she said.

Figures with the provincial Counternarcotics Department show more than 10,000 people, 600 of them women, are addicted to drugs. A majority of these addicts are returnees from Iran where had travelled in search of work.

A civil society activist, Razia Baloch, said every family in Nimroz had one member addicted to drugs, calling it a major problem.

“Despite public awareness programs over the past 13 years, little progress was achieved because Afghanistan is many times backward compared to other countries. The government should pay attention to the issue.”

Zubaida Rassouli, a worker at the Neda-i-Zan organization, said another big problem the women faced was joblessness.

“Girls who graduate from schools cannot find jobs, we want donor agencies to generate job opportunities for women in tailoring, sewing, carpet weaving and other activities,” she said.

She added the current problems women faced forced them into choosing shelter houses.