Shelter For Women Opened in Afghanistan
December 19, 2007
The Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team unveiled a new women’s shelter during a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 13th. The shelter is the very first of it’s kind for Afghanistan’s Kapisa province. Present for the ceremony were Kapisa Governor Khuweja Abubaker and Safura Kohistani, who is the province’s director of women’s affairs.
“A woman who is a victim of domestic violence cannot go to the police or another man for help, or she will lose honor with her family,” said Captain Jordan Berry, the Provincial Reconstruction Team’s (PRT) civil affairs team leader for the province. “Any woman who is a victim of domestic violence or who is temporairly displaced from her home or family is elgible to use the shelter,” Berry said.
In the United States, women’s shelters are quite commonplace, but that is not so in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where the culture is quite different. Here in the US, shelters provide a safe haven for women who are victims of domestic abuse. Considering that I work daily with domestic violence and sexual assault victims, the shelter opening sparked great interest from me. The opening of this shelter, is a great stride forward for Afghanistan. The shelter is designed to be able to provide everything that any woman who visits or stays there might need.
“The shelter is a facility consisting of eight rooms, one kitchen, one office with a desk and chairs, 10 steel frame bunk beds with mattresses, an interior European-style restroom, an exterior one-stall restroom, a well, a perimeter security wall, a guard house and a generator house,â€ said Air Force Master Sgt. Charles Liston, the Bagram PRTâ€™s structural superintendent.
The project to build the shelter took 9 months for the contractors, who were local Afghanis to complete. The Bagram PRT provided more than $86,000 towards the project. As well as holding the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees were able to view an exihibit of items handcrafted by several Afghan women.
According to Air Force Captain Erick Saks, the PRT’s executive officer, helped to put money into the local community. Saks said that the exihibit was another way that showed the steps forward that were being made in Afghanistan and the changing thoughts about the role of women in the country.
“Many members of our team bought items at the exhibition as gifts, which not only helped with their Christmas shopping, but it also put money into the local community,â€ said Captain Saks. “The money collected at the exhibition provided income for the local women, he said. “There are few business oppportunities for women in Afghanistan, so we were glad to help them out.”