Secure Safety and Rights for Afghan Families

 
$9,848
$70,152
Raised
Remaining

Progress Report

NARRATIVE

Overall Objective – To improve prospects for women,
girls and children by using productively the period they spend in the shelter
(from a few weeks to 2 years). This entails offering educational opportunities,
life skills training, instruction on women’s human rights, vocational training
and other services that promote psychological well-being and provide physical
and intellectual stimulation and advancement. 

Progress towards achieving the overall objective:

From
2008– April 30, 2012, the Kabul FGC/shelter registered 2220
cases . Of these cases:

Closed:                                                            1851

Open:                                                                167

Cases in follow-up                                           202

Cases referred to other FGCs and
agencies: 297

Legal cases                                                       854

Counseling/mediation cases                        1351

Female clients                                                1471

Male clients                                                         27

Underage clients                                              722

SHELTER
CLIENTS                                        1607

Children
accompanying mothers to shelter:  603

Objective 1:  Enhanced access for women/girls-at-risk to
safe living quarters, protective services such as professional legal assistance
and social inclusion (re-integration into family and/or society) when
feasible. 

Progress towards
achieving Objective 1

Cases for
two-year reporting period:  May 1, 2010 -
April 20, 2012:

Number of new cases                                          954   (This two year period shows a 6% increase  in clients over the previous two years.

Mediation & counseling cases                        611

Legal cases                                                        343

Female clients                                                   667

Male clients                                                              3

Underage clients                                              284

Closed cases                                                         722 

Cases in follow-up  from current period         147 

Cases from previous period still in follow-up   55 

Cases  still open                                                    85 

Women in Kabul
FGC shelter                      856

 

Children with
mothers in shelter                 143

 

Women currently
in shelter                              41


Children currently in shelter                       14

 

Referring agencies:

Police stations                                                    303

AIHRC                                                                  255

Criminal office (MoI)                                                     100

MoWA                                                                               26

Court                                                                     15

Self                                                                         68

WAW offices                                                         47

Walayat                                                                   1

Attorney General                                                   7

Other NGOs                                                        12

AWN                                                                        4

Transitional House                                                5

Types of cases:

Domestic Violence                                                308

Divorce                                                                  61

Forbidden marriage                                                2

Forced marriage                                                  40

Mental problem                                                    14

Rape                                                                      10

Runaway                                                             154

Social problems                                                       296  

Protection                                                              45

Trafficked                                                                   2

Terror                                                                       1

Exchanged marriage                                               4

Child marriage                                                         1

Other                                                                      16

FGC staff perform follow-ups of cases for
one year after a resolution has been reached to protect the client (and family)
against a return of the human rights violation that brought her to the FGC in the
first place. These visits comply with the contractual agreement each families
signs before the client returns home. Follow-ups remain a challenge for WAW
staff (See challenge section of this report).

About a year and a half ago, WAW made the decision to train its lawyers in criminal law. Before

this time, they had treated only civil law cases.  This decision was an eye-opener. We have had

cases in which girls as young as 10 have been raped
or prostituted. In the majority of cases

we have been unable to get courts to prosecute the

alleged perpetrator because the girl does not have “proof” that she was raped—as if a child would make this claim

dishonestly. It is also common in Afghanistan for prosecutors to accuse clients
who have been raped—including underage clients—of having engaged in consensual
sex.  Behind the misogyny is corruption: men
in Afghanistan can rape and prostitute women/girls with impunity by bribing
prosecutors and judges.  Nothing is ever
done about it.  In rare cases, when evidence
is overwhelming, men are actually convicted and sentenced. Then they bribe
their way out of prison.

 

During the past 12 months, WAW lawyers worked on 185 legal cases.

Court cases:

Divorce           
                                                     47

Neka                                                                     19

Domestic violence                                               27

Rejected engagement                                           6

Criminal cases                                                     16

False passports                                                     3

Runaway                                                              22

Alimony                                                                  2

Zena (adultery)                                                   10

Kidnapping                                                            6

Protection                                                              2

Social problems                                                     3

Terrorist                                                                1

Forced marriage                                                   2

Rape                                                                       3

Child protection                                                    1

Mental problem                                                     1

Accused of Murder                                               1

Bride price                                                             2

Accused of theft                                                    1

Objective 2: 
Life enhancement of shelter residents—adults and children—through
special services such as literacy classes, 
life skills classes,  vocational
training,  and kindergarten for young
children.
 

 

Progress towards achieving Objective 2 .

Women for Afghan Women provides educational

opportunities to shelter residents. Obviously, the progress women/girls can
make in these classes depends on their length of stay in the shelter, which can
range from a few weeks to 2 years (and occasionally longer).


  • Life Skills Classes: Life skills
         classes focus on health and hygiene, family relationships,  conflict resolution, childcare, civil law.  While living at the shelter, the women also participate
         in group therapy, role-playing, and therapeudic picture methods. These
         strategies give women knowledge and skills to assist their reintegration
         into family and community.

  • Clients in the shelter take
         life skills classes 5 days a week 
         for 1.5 hours per day.

  • Literacy
         classes:
    Literacy classes run five days a week.  In addition to reading and writing Dari, literacy classes
         include basic arithmetic (counting, adding, subtracting, identifying sums
         of money). 
  • The Dari class runs for 2 hours.  Clients learned  to write their own names, names of and
         their family and friends, and simple words. They were also able to read a
         simple text.
  • Islamic Studies  includes the 5 pillars of Islam,
         methods of praying (which women are not taught in Afghanistan, probably
         because their families have not been taught), and the rights of the wife
         in Islam.
  • Computer class runs 3 days a week for 2 hours. 
         Clients who are literate attend. They learn the name and function
         of computer parts, Notepad, and 
         basic Word functions.
  •  FGC
         kindergarten :
    All children living with their mothers in the shelter
         can attend the FGC kindergarten, where they learn to
         read and write the letters of the alphabet and to count,  name colors and shapes, and other
         subjects appropriate to their age. 
         Our experienced teacher, who is trained in early
         childhood development, and an assistant (who is also a client
         in the shelter) work on the children’s social and communication skills. Children
         who are at the shelter for long periods are, of course, more advanced than
         those who stay briefly.
  • Vocational
         Training
    :  Shelter clients
         receive vocational training 5 days per week in tailoring, crocheting,
         cooking and basic jewelry making. Since our jewelry trainer left
         Afghanistan, we have been unable to find a competent replacement.  We are in the process of discussing a
         partnership with the founder and president of a U.S. NGO, Global Goods
         Partners. She and her jewelry designer are helping us develop this program
         by designing attractive jewelry that will sell in the international
         market. The program is valuable because it will enable women to earn a
         living once they develop professional 
         skills. 

Objective 3:  Strengthening the capacity of public, private
and civil society bodies  to exercise
social protection for Afghan women/girls at risk by advocating for shelters
before international donors, the GoA, 
local communities, schools/universities.

 When the FGC/shelter first opened in Kabul in

2007, we received a few clients each month. That number slowly increased over
the next few years, until recently, when it exploded.  Last month, the WAW FGC received 81 new cases.

We believe this surge is the result Not of an increase in violence against women, which has been a permanent
factor of Afghan culture, but of the information WAW community trainers are
disseminating about women’s human rights and WAW services. We also believe
WAW’s reputation for competence and honesty has helped overcome community
resistance to NGOs.  The desire of
women—and families—for justice is finally trumping that resistance.

We incorporate community and religious leaders into the reconciliation efforts of individual clients whenever possible.

WAW also works assiduously to strengthen public, private, and civil society bodies through awareness-raising programs, media coverage, and collaborative endeavors with other NGOs, ministries, and
international donors.

During the past 12 months, WAW staff held training sessions at 27 schools and 41 clinics and hospitals.  Sessions, which lasted from ½ hour to over an hour, focused on women’s human rights in Islam and Afghan civil law—such as the fact that forced and underage marriages are illegal in both. Trainers also talk
about WAW services and locations of WAW facilities and hand out calendars and
cards printed with contact information. 

These endeavors have taught us that awareness-raising works to inform and empower women to refuse further abuse. As a result we are committed to expanding our awareness-raising activities,. Reaching out to ordinary citizens and leaders helps establish respect for our work. They now refer women to us directly.

Objective 4: 
Support Afghanistan’s reporting to national and international bodies as
to progress on related MDG targets and the situation of women/girls at risk.

Upon request, WAW’s database will provide the GoA, media, human rights organizations, schools, etc. documented and costed strategies for family/social reintegration for women and children. Data for all
cases are compiled according to province, specific services,  case numbers and types, client age,
geographical distribution, issues, and outcomes, etc.

Challenges and suggested solutions:

  • Following up cases after a solution that the family accepts has been reached remains a major
    challenge. Two problems prevent our staff from fulfilling this commitment in
    every case.
    • Security: some clients move to districts or provinces that are not safe for our staff to
      enter.
    • Conservative families do not allow case workers to follow-up their case although they signed
      an agreement that they would comply .

Although we have not completely solved this problem, we have we hired a male caseworker,
who can accompany female caseworkers during some follow up visits

  • Local media,specifically Noorin TV, have attacked the shelters, claiming they are  actually brothels. A shelter association has been formed that now has 5 members: WAW, VoA, HAWCA, ASDA, MoWA.  We believe other stakeholders will join.  On the basis of strength in numbers, this association it will have greater leverage to counter these attacks than a lone
    NGO has.
  • A third challenge is the resistance of courts (prosecutors and judges) to prosecute and sentence
    perpetrators of crimes against women. The cause is their vulnerability to
    bribes. This massive problem, which paralyzes the rule of law throughout the
    country, has not yielded to a decade of training or pressure from international
    donors. WAW has some success in prosecuting offenders because we work on a
    case-by-case basis. Our many years of experience good relationshops with AG
    office, some judges.

Monitoring during reporting period.

  • Women for Afghan Women believes in quality control.  The activities of the shelter are consistently monitored by the Kabul FGC supervisor, by WAW program officers, and by the organization’s Education Coordinator.
  • We have developed our own M&E tools, which have been applied to the Kabul office.  As a result of responses to these forms, an action plan was developed to improve specific areas of our program.

The tools consist of 4 questionnaires that cover performance of caseworkers, lawyers, database
operators and the facility itself.

  • Caseworker evaluation checks on 25
    areas in three categories: caseworker handling of client files; observation of
    caseworker communication skills, physical appearance, etc.; caseworker’s treatment of client.
  •  Evaluation sheet for WAW lawyers covers lawyer’s files,  lawyer’s relations with clients, lawyer’s performance at trial.
  • Evaluation of  WAW Administration and Human Resource
    departments:  physical condition of offices,  treatment of visitors to office, extent to which all organization and staff files are up to date.  
  • Checklist of information in database to ascertain whether database information concurs with caseworker files.

Deviations from work plan.  Deviations from the work plan or TOR and reasons for them must be agreed upon in advance by the Embassy in writing by a letter or email correspondence.)

No deviations have occurred.  

Description of the procurement of persons/services or goods or works.

Coordination and cooperation with other organizations; is there any other
organization that works in the same sector/areas you are implementing the
project in?

  • WAW is a member of the Afghan Women’s Network. We 
    coordinate all  our advocacy efforts with this women’s umbrella agency.
  • WAW works in partnership with Medica Afghanistan, with whom we developed our advocacy
    strategy.
  • WAW is a member of the coordination committee in MoWA. We attend all monthly meetings to
    discuss shelter issues.
  • The shelter association is another such example of coordination and cooperation. See
    Challenges and Suggested Solutions above.

What steps have you taken this quarter to consult community members (community shuras, elders,religious leaders etc.) for getting support for the project and how were their reactions?

WAW has two community trainers on staff. Although they are not directly included in the shelter grant, they arekey to the success of the program.

During the past 12 months, WAW staff held training sessions at 27 schools and 41 clinics and hospitals.  Sessions, which lasted from ½ hour to over an hour, focused on women’s human rights in Islam and Afghan civil law—such as the fact that forced and underage marriages are illegal in both. Trainers also talk about WAW services and locations of WAW facilities and hand out calendars and cards printed with contact information.  

Special issues to be tackled in the future and why are they important?

  • It is important that we develop a strategy for dealing with media attacks. We are
    working on this problem with other equally vulnerable women’s rights NGOs.  It is necessary to convey to the public what a shelter is, what it can contribute to a community, and why it is important.
  • One serious issue WAW faces is that single women in Afghanistan cannot live alone. A
    woman who has divorced her husband and who has no birth family to return to (her
    parents are dead, they do not want her, they will kill her for shaming the
    family)—that woman has very few options. They consist of a second marriage,
    which is problematic for a divorced woman, a life in a shelter, which is highly
    unsatisfactory even if it could be arranged, a life on the streets. The shelter
    cannot be a dead end for tens of thousands of women.

WAW has now opened 2 halfway houses for women transitioning from shelters. A strong program helps them develop the resources they need to live independent lives. Once they are able to support themselves, to read and write and handle money, we will take the final step: setting up communal living arrangements for them and their children.

Share a success story with evidence (photo, letter, etc)  (e.g. a beneficiary
sharing with you how the project has changed her life, or a community
development council/committee presenting you appreciation letter, or how you
were able to attract a community contribution in the implementation of the
project, etc) 

Maryam’s stepfather sold her to a blind cleric when she was about 10 years old. After the cleric married her, he and his family became abusive.  Maryam tolerated the abuse for several years, but she finally ran away. She was picked up and referred to an international human rights NGO that assigned a lawyer to her case and sued for divorce. The suit rested on strong legal grounds: she had been sold; she had been forced into a marriage; she had been underage.

That lawyer was on the take, as was the
court. The cleric bribed them to deny the divorce and return Maryam to him and
his family. Although they signed a document agreeing to stop the physical and
mental abuse, the violence started up as soon as Maryam returned to their
house.       

Some time later, Maryam ran away again.  This time she reached the WAW FGC and shelter. WAW again sued for divorce. The case dragged along for several years because the cleric fought to retain possession of his “wife”, who was still legally underage. Finally the court decided that if Maryam could pay him $1500, she would receive her divorce. Could bribery have motivated this decision? Maryam had no money. She had been living in the WAW shelter for about 4 years. WAW appealed this decision.

Again the cleric resisted, but this time the court awarded her a divorce. The entire process had taken 9 years of
Maryam’s life—from the time she was sold to the final award.

Maryam remained in the shelter after receiving her divorce. Where else could she have gone? In the shelter, the guard thought she might be a suitable wife for his son. He talked to the FGC manager, who met the son and approved of him. The next step was to introduce him to Maryam. Finally, just a week ago, they were married.  The shelter, where Maryam had spent many years of her life, held a big celebration for her.

Links:


Attachments:

Overall Objective – To improve prospects for women, girls and children by using the period they spend in the shelter (from a few weeks to 2 years) productively. This entails offering educational opportunities, life skills training, instruction on their human rights, vocational training and other services that provide physical, intellectual and mental stimulation and advancement. 

 Progress towards achieving the overall objective  .

 Overview of Case Figures:

 From June 1, 2011 through November 30, 2011, the Kabul FGC and shelter registered 229 new cases, of which 165 were adult females, 63 were underage females, and 1 was an adult male. 

 WAW’s caseworkers solved 255 cases, of which 65 were solved through legal means in three courts.  Sixty-nine cases are currently in follow up;  53 cases remain open. 

 Objective 1:  Enhanced access for women/girls-at-risk to safe living quarters, protective services such as professional legal assistance and social inclusion (re-integration into family and/or society) when feasible. 

 Progress towards achieving our Objective

  • WAW’s FGC and shelter in Kabul continue to be among the few places where women and  girls can receive comprehensive services and support.  
  • Of the 229 new cases registered during the period, 65 were legal cases and 190 were counseling and mediation cases.
  • During the reporting period, 211 women and 33 children stayed in our shelter.
  • Cases required 1185 sessions with clients and their families, of which 548 were legal sessions that WAW lawyers facilitated with clients, prosecutors, judges, and shuras, and 637 were sessions WAW counselors facilitated with the client and family members.
  • FGC staff perform follow-ups of cases for one year after a resolution has been reached to protect the client (and family) against a return of the human rights violation that brought her to the FGC in the first place.  During the reporting period, counselors performed unannounced follow-ups on 65 cases. These visits comply with the contractual agreement each families signs before the client returns home. Follow-ups remain a challenge for WAW staff (See challenge section of this report).

 

Objective 2:  Life enhancement of shelter residents—adults and children—through special services such as literacy classes,  life skills classes,  vocational training,  and kindergarten for young children. 

Progress towards achieving Objective 2 .

Women for Afghan Women provides educational opportunities to shelter residents. The majority of our clients have never been to school and are illiterate.  During the reporting period, 39% of the clients were illiterate;  12 % could write only their names.

  Life Skills Classes: Life skills classes focus on health and hygiene, family relationships, civic education, conflict resolution, and childcare.  While living at the shelter, the women also participate in group therapy, role-playing, and therapeudic picture methods. These strategies give women knowledge and skills to assist their reintegration into family and community.

  • Clients in the shelter take life skills classes 5 days a week  for 1.5 hours per day.  During the reporting period, 194 clients attended  the classes. The pre and post assessment test all residents must take registered an improvement of 60% in their understanding of  issues related to health and hygiene

 

  • Literacy classes: Literacy classes run five days a week. During the reporting period, 194 attended. In addition to reading and writing Dari, literacy classes include math and Islamic studies. 
  • The Dari class runs for 2 hours.  During the reporting period, 142 clients attended. They learned  to write their own names, names of and their family and friends, and simple words. They were also able to read a simple text.
  • Islamic Studies  include the 5 pillars of Islam, methods of praying (which women are not taught in Afghanistan—another violation of their rights), and the rights of the  wife in Islam.  
  • The Math class runs 1 hour three days a week. During the reporting period about 194 students attended that class. 
  • The Computer class runs 3 days a week for 2 hours.  About 78 clients attended. They learned the name and function of computer parts, Notepad, and  basic Word functions.
  •  FGC kindergarten : All children living with their mothers in the shelter can attend the FGC kindergarten, where they learn the alphabet, to read and write letters and count, colors,  shapes, and other subjects appropriate to their age.  Our experienced teacher, who received training in Early Childhood Development,and an assistant (who is also a client in the shelter) work on the children’s social and communication skills. Children who are at the shelter for long periods are, of course, more advanced than those who stay briefly.
  • Vocational Training:  Shelter clients receive vocational training 5 days per week in tailoring, crocheting, cooking and basic jewelry making.  During the reporting period, 168 clients participated in these classes. Since our original trainer in jewelry resigned, we have been unable to find to find a competent replacement.  We are in the process of discussing a partnership with the founder and president of a U.S. NGO, Global Goods Partners. She will help us develop this program, which could enable women earn a living once they develop professional  skills. 

 

Objective 3:  Strengthening the capacity of public, private and civil society bodies  to exercise social protection for Afghan women/girls at risk by advocating for shelters before international donors, the GoA,  local communities, schools/universities.

As a women’s NGO in a deeply patriarchal culture, we have had, and still have, many attitudinal barriers to overcome. From the outset, we have taken steps to change those attitudes.

  • We offer our services to men as well as women. Rather than chastising the perpetrators of violence, we try to enlighten men about peaceful family relations as required by Islam.
  • We incorporate religious leaders into our reconciliation efforts whenever possible.
  • We seek opportunities to implement awareness-raising projects in all provinces where WAW operates FGCs and shelters.

WAW has worked to strengthen public, private, and civil society bodies through awareness- raising programs, media coverage, meetings with mullahs and perpetrators as part of the resolution process, and collaborative endeavors with other NGOs, ministries, and international donors.

        These endeavors have taught us that awareness-raising accompanied by solutions works to inform and empower women to refuse further abuse. We discovered that both men and women are eager to learn about human rights and take action to protect them. We also concluded that advising women in a community about our services has a major impact on the number of women and girls who come to our facilities for help.

       As a result we are committed to expanding our awareness-raising activities,. Reaching out to ordinary citizens and leaders helps establish respect for our work. We anticipate that many of them will become solid partners and will refer women to our facilities.  Some may get involved in our counseling services. These projects provide much needed information on women’s rights and may even motivate communities to take steps toward protecting women’s rights by supporting our shelters in the face of government opposition.

         We also endeavor to improve our already cooperative relations and partnerships with local police, ministries, law enforcement officials including local Attorney General’s staff, prosecutors, religious leaders, shura leaders and members, and other NGOs with related mandates and activities.

Objective 4:  Support Afghanistan’s reporting to national and international bodies as to progress on related MDG targets and the situation of women/girls at risk.

Upon request, WAW’s database will provide the GoA, media, human rights organizations, schools, etc. documented and costed strategies for family/social reintegration for women and children. Data for all cases are compiled according to province, specific services,  case numbers and types, client age, geographical distribution, issues, and outcomes, etc.

Challenges and suggested solutions

  • Following up cases remains a challenge. Two problems prevent our staff from fulfilling this commitment
    • Security: some clients move to districts or provinces which are not safe for our staff to enter.
    • Conservative families do not allow case workers to follow-up their case although they signed an agreement that they would comply .

Although we have not completely solved this problem, we have we hired a male case worker who can accompany female caseworkers during some follow up visits.

  • Local media, specifically Noorin TV,  have attacked the shelters, claiming they are  actually brothels. Along with other shelter directors, we are working on a strategy to overcome this challenge

Monitoring during reporting period.

  • Women for Afghan Women believes in quality control.  The activities of the shelter were consistently monitored by the Kabul FGC supervisor, by WAW program officers, and by the organization’s Education Coordinator.
  • We have developed our own M&E tools, which have been applied to the Kabul office.  As a result of responses to these forms, an action plan was developed to improve specific areas of our program.

The tools consist of 4 questionnaires that cover performance of caseworkers, lawyers, database operators and the facility itself.

  • Caseworker evaluation checks on 25 areas in three categories: caseworker handling of client files;  observation of caseworker communication skills, physical appearance, etc.;

             caseworker’s treatment of client.

  •  Evaluation sheet for WAW lawyers covers lawyer’s files,  lawyer’s relations with clients, lawyer’s performance at trial.
  • Evaluation of  WAW Administration and Human Resource departments:  physical condition of offices,  treatment of visitors to office, extent to which all organization and staff files are up to date.  
  • Checklist of  information in database to ascertain whether database information concurs with caseworker files. 

Coordination and cooperation with other organizations; is there any other organization that works in the same sector/areas you are implementing the project in?

 

  • Women for Afghan Women is a member of the Afghan Women’s Network. We  coordinate all  our advocacy efforts with this women’s umbrella agency.
  • Women for Afghan Women works in partnership with Medica Afghanistan, with whom we developed our advocacy strategy.
  • Women for Afghan women is a member of the coordination committee in MoWA. We attend all monthly meetings to discuss  shelter issues .

 

What steps have you taken this quarter to consult community members (community shuras, elders, religious leaders etc.) for getting support for the project and how were their reactions?

 

  • WAW now has a community trainer. Although she is not directly included in the shelter project,  she meets with community members, school students, etc. 
  • We  trained 500 individuals during a two-day workshop on Women Rights Are Human        Rights. 
  • These 500 trainees trained 9500 people in the five districts of Kabul.

 

Special issues to be tackled in the future and why are they important?  It is important that we develop a strategy for dealing with media attacks. We are working on this problem with other equally vulnerable women’s rights NGOs.  It is necessary to  convey to the public what a shelter is, what it can contribute to a community,  and why it is important.

 

Share a success story with evidence (photo, letter, etc)  (e.g. a beneficiary sharing with you how the project has changed her life, or a community development council/committee presenting you appreciation letter, or how you were able to attract a community contribution in the implementation of the project, etc) 

 

Nahida: 15 years old.

When Nadia was 12 years old, her father developed mental problems, and he and her mother began fighting. Finally, during one battle her father murdered her mother. He then sent Nadia and her sister to their uncle’s house. After a few days she learned that her father had taken her two brothers and run away.

Nahida and her sister lived with her uncle, who forced her into a marriage when she was 13 despite her strong objections.  But she obeyed him when he told her that if she did not obey, she would have to leave his house.  After the marriage her husband and mother-in-law beat her constantly.  Unable to endure the oppression, she went to Family Court, which sent her to the WAW FGC. 

 

Noria: 26 yrs old.

Noria is uneducated. Six years ago, with her agreement, her uncle engaged her to Ayatulah, whom she married three months later.  Six months after her marriage, she found out that her husband was already married and had two children with his first wife. She did not take any action over this but continued her happy married life. She has two children, a son and a daughter. After four years, her husband married another woman with the agreement of both Noria and his first wife. He treated both wives equally,  giving them the same financial support. But the third wife ruined her life. She didn’t let her husband talk to Noria or love her. Her husband made excuses, even attacked Nadia physically. Finally his violence drove to the police, who brought her to WAW. After a few counseling sessions, the client insisted that she would reconcile with her husband only if he gave her independence from his other wives.  Her husband  agreed, and his third wife regretted her behavior. They are now happy and grateful to WAW. The case is in follow-up.       

 

Maryam: 17 years old 

When Maryam was 7 years old, her father married her off.  After a while, her in-laws and husband physically and mentally tortured her. Over time their violence increased.  Her husband beat her, starved her, wouldn’t give her clothes to wear, and didn’t let her visit  her relatives, even her father. She was their servant. When Maryam complained to her father, her husband beat her.

            After a year she ran away to her father’s house. But he sent her back to her in-laws without even inquiring about her problems. After two years her husband married a second wife and the violence increased.  She tolerated it because her father told her that if she ran away again, her husband would kill her.

            When Marayam was 13 years old, she gave birth to a baby girl, but her husband, his second wife, and her in-laws still beat her. Finally one day she ran away to the police station and complained about her husband.

            When her husband found out, he went to Pakistan. The police sent Maryam to the WAW shelter, where a WAW’s counselor held mediation sessions with her and her father.  After many sessions, her father realized that he made mistakes and took Maryam to his house. The case is now in follow-up, and Maryam is very happy.

 

Liada: 18 years old.

When Liada was 5 years old and her sister was 9 months,  her father died and her mother married his brother. She and her sister lived with their mother and stepfather. When she was 14, she got married and had a daughter. She and her husband were happy until after one year her uncle interfered with their married life.  He decided he was opposed to the marriage and forced her to divorce her husband.  He then sold her daughter and forced Liada to marry another man. After 6 months, her husband and in-laws beat her with a hammer. When she ran away to her uncle and told him about the treatment, her uncle blamed her.

            When Liada saw that her husband and uncle were no good, she ran to the police station. They sent her to WAW’s Kabul FGC.  Liada is one of our clients whom the police sent to us for protection.

WAW
WAW's FGC - Shelter Literacy Class

 Country: Afghanistan

Organisation: Afghanistan – Women for Afghan Women

Project title: Family Guidance Center – Kabul Province

Reporting period: March 1, 2011 – May 31, 2011

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

WAW’s Family Guidance Centers and shelter provides relief to victims of domestic violence and other forms of human right violations. The violations women in Afghanistan suffer include domestic violence, rape and other sexual abuses, such as trafficking, underage and forced marriage, the exchange of female children as payment for a crime (the custom baad), and threats of honor killings. On a daily basis, the FGC helps women seeking a divorce when there is no alternative to violence, women and girls facing prison sentences for running away from abusive situations, and girls as young as 9-years old who have been sold as brides to men of all ages.

Women may arrive there after fleeing to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), hospitals, police departments or the FGC itself. WAW staff evaluates each case in its own unique context. In all cases, women are provided with counseling and mediation to ensure the successful resolution of family conflict and reintegration into society. Women living in families that are deemed untreatable or in situations that defy remediation will stay in our secure shelter until WAW mediators facilitate their reintegration with their marital or birth families or work out another solution.  During that time, they receive literacy training, life skills training, counseling, legal services or other services as may be necessary to alleviate her situation.

As for children accompanying their mothers, WAW provides medical attention as needed and places them in our kindergarten. 

Before a woman can return to her home, if that proves possible and in keeping with her human rights, the family must agree in writing to permit follow-ups, unannounced visits for a minimum of one year. This step is essential in a culture where “honor” killings of women who bring shame on the family are common and go virtually unpunished.

WAW has a high success rate in resolution of cases in the shelter for many reasons. Whenever possible, WAW involves the perpetrators of crimes in these efforts, and religious leaders are often included in family discussions. The news of WAW’s FGC has spread to relatives, neighbors, communities, and government agencies. Our work influences far more people than just our immediate clients. This is evident in the increasing number of women seeking WAW’s services on their own (as opposed to being referred by other agencies).  Since 2007 to present, WAW has registered a total of 2,814 cases across the country.

*WAW's full report for the period of March - May 2011 is attached. 

WAW
WAW's FGC - Shelter Life Skills Class
FGC Shelter Clients - Attending Tailoring Class
FGC Shelter Clients - Attending Tailoring Class

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Story of a Survivor of Violence~ "Kamar was married to a disable man (with one leg), who forced her to beg during their entire 20 year marriage in Pakistan, Jalalabad, and Kabul. He never worked and she was the breadwinner.  Four years ago, he married a second wife, who had 4 children of her own. The couple then had 4 children together. Kamar herself is childless. The husband beat her with wooden implements so severely that her back and hips are badly scarred. Our lawyers got her a divorce despite the husband’s strong objections. Kamar is now living with her brother and is very happy." 

Stories like this can break your heart – especially given the current crisis facing women shelters in Afghanistan.  But the staff members at Women for Afghan Women (WAW) come across them every day. WAW has enabled hundreds of women in the US and Afghanistan to reclaim their “VOICES”, dignity, respect, and rights to be effective members of their society.  

WAW is a grassroots civil society organization dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls, particularly their rights to develop their individual potential, to self-determination, and to be represented in all areas of life: political, social, cultural and economic. We advocate for women’s rights and challenge the norms that underpin gender-based violence wherever opportunities arise in order to influence attitudes and bring about change.

WAW is committed to the leadership and agency of Afghan women in the struggle for their human rights. WAW's work takes place within the religious and cultural context of the women of Afghanistan.

WAW operates Family Guidance Centers (FGCs) which shelter, protect and promote the human rights of Afghan women and children in Kabul, Mazar, Kapisa, Jalalabad and Kunduz.  Since 2007, WAW’s FGCs have helped approximately 2,500 women, girls, and/or families in crisis.  The demand for these centers and the services it provides are profound.  

Personal note to the donor who has contributed to your project 

Our overall success is due in part to our extraordinary vision and determination as well as the commitment of our supporters. As a supporter of WAW your contribution has impacted the lives of hundreds of women, young girls and families. Your generous donation and support has been instrumental in transforming the lives of our clients,  and we want to thank you. With your support we have been able to maintain the Family Guidance Center and shelter services.

Our work in Afghanistan continues to thrive.  After only three and a half years, the original Family Guidance Center/shelter (FGC) in Kabul has expanded to four other locations: Kapisa, Mazar, Kunduz, and Jalalabad, and we are planning to open three more in the next two years.  These centers have helped about 2500 women and girls. When we include their families, the number of beneficiaries comes to well over 7000 people. Husbands and fathers often participate in counseling with wives and daughters. We currently have 32 women and 8 children living in the Kabul shelter, where we run a kindergarten and hold literacy, life skills, and vocational training classes for women.

Our newest project is the Children’s Support Center, a residence for the children over five years old who had been living with their mothers in the Kabul women's prison. Since most children who come to us are illiterate, the CSC starts them on an accelerated learning program until they can enter school. We also have classes in English and computer skills and tutoring for kids who are having trouble keeping up with school assignments.  In her NY Times article on Afghan women (Oct. 24, 2010), Elizabeth Rubin wrote of the CSC, “I’d never seen such a beautiful, clean institution in Afghanistan.” We will open two additional CSCs in the coming year.

These accomplishments would not be possible without out the generosity of our supporters.  For your loyalty and generosity, we and the women and girls of Afghanistan express heartfelt gratitude. 

*Attached please find WAW's most recent project report covering the period of December 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011. The report includes charts, photos, and case profiles. 

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Project Leader

Manizha Naderi

Fresh Meadows, NY United States

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