Our Women’s Safe House, Samridhi Ghar, is providing women and children with safety, shelter, and so much more. We have primarily received women who are victims of domestic abuse, rape, or other sexual violence. They often arrive injured, sometimes with a child who is malnourished or sick. We have seen other cases of women who have been physically attacked or who have severe mental disturbances. For all of them, we provide safe space, a counselor on-site, and connection to medical and legal services.
Women stay anywhere from 2-3 days up to 6 months, allowing them to heal and receive the support they need to re-enter their lives. For women with longer stays, we provide light income generating activities (like making beaded necklaces), so that they have a little money when they leave and a transportation stipend when necessary. Since opening in May 2022, we have received 17 women who have stayed at the Safe House for a total of 1088 days, which is the equivalent of 3 years of housing for women and their children.
Parshu Dahal, our Program Director, says, “The Safe House staffs have been conducting awareness raising programs among local communities with a focus on ending violence against women. This includes engaging with men and boys to bring about behavior change and increase understanding of the terrible impact of gender-based violence.”
Community education builds awareness about women’s rights–such protections under the law for women suffering from domestic violence or for young girls being pushed into child marriage–and about the availability of Samriddhi Ghar for any woman in need. Nearly 30 Community Education sessions have reached 1200 people, and we reach thousands more through radio PSA spots.
Through the Safe House, we advocate for stronger implementation of existing laws supporting women’s rights, and are working towards a long-term, sustainable reduction in gender-based violence. We hope to improve the systems women rely on to seek justice and to raise awareness of Safe House services. So many women are suffering physical and sexual violence that still goes unreported. We are working to educate the broader community to help increase community identification and referrals of women in need.
Another focus of the Safe House this year has been to make operational improvements, including training staff to create a case management system that will track the women for 2 years after their stay, connect them with local support in their home villages, and provide feedback to develop an increasingly effective program.
At CLN, we have been deeply touched by the stories and circumstances of Nepali women’s lives and also by the strengthening of the local community’s support for women rights. Tulasi, our Safe House Manager, has presented data to local district officials about the cases we are seeing, and the officials have been responsive. They expanded local funding commitments (allocating annual funding from the main townships municipal budgets and now also from all of the smaller counties). The District government also donated land for a permanent building that will ensure the long-term continuation and expansion of our SH program. Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with Another Brick in Nepal (ABIN) for construction of a permanent building. We have been collaborating on design and construction plans and hope to break ground before the end of the year. ABIN has been an amazing partner in this process. We’re grateful and delighted to be working with them!
We also want to acknowledge and thank: All The Sky for their support and belief in our Safe House project from the beginning and for providing a third year matching grant; Mountain Madness for helping spread the word about this project to raise funds; and our Founding Members for believing in the vision and getting us launched!
We need your help in raising funds to support Safe House operations for 2024. We are moving towards the program being self-sustaining, but we are not quite there yet. Help us solidify this program and continue to serve the women of Nepal!