In 1995, WF established a shelter in Boudha, Kathmandu for women and children who are survivors of various kinds of violence. We do not discriminate on the basis of ethnic group, caste, or any other potential category, but decide which women and children need immediate attention on a case-by-case basis. Most women who come to the shelter for help are in physical danger, and are often in situations where they may die. Having helped over 550 women since it’s establishment, the shelter is currently providing for 21 women and 23 children (2002).
The women and children come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have been abused by their husbands and in-laws, while others have been forced into prostitution in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The children have either been orphaned, exploited as child laborers, suffered abuse or have been living in the streets due to acute poverty in the family.
The shelter removes these women and children from these circumstances and offers them safety. Once out of the potentially dangerous environment, the women can turn to other WF programs to get medical attention, counseling, and extensive legal aid to practically improve their situation. They have the opportunity to learn important skills, including reading, writing and handicraft skills when they are more mentally and physically stable. The shelter itself, as an independent project, is a place where women in extreme situations can stay, but its connection to all the other WF programs makes it an opportunity. Women are directly linked to WF network, which can help them heal and become independent.
The ultimate goal of the shelter is not to provide women with a permanent residence, but to give them encouragement, support, and a temporary home while they find their own place in society. In many cases, it also establishes life-long friendships.
It became evident to the Women’s Foundation that providing accommodation and support was not enough to empower these women. If the women are to rebuild their lives and gain financial independence, it was necessary for WF to develop a skill training program. The shelter has thus acted as the starting point for a number of programs. These programs are outlined below:
During their time at the shelter, women are given the opportunity to undertake skill training which will assist them in gaining financial and social independence. WF currently provides training programs in traditional Dhaka weaving, dry food production and tailoring. To find out more about these programs, click on each area.
The organic farm was established for 2 reasons; in the first instance the organic farm is a cost-saver for the shelter, growing vegetables which are used to feed the shelter. In the second instance the organic farm is used as an education and awareness program, which is especially important given the extensive use of chemicals in Nepali farming practices. Click here to find out ore about the organic farm.