Furniture, appliances for battered women's shelter

Guyana Chronicle
April 4, 2000

HELP and Shelter, the lone crisis centre for domestic and sexual violence in Guyana, has received $821,000 worth in furniture and home appliances.

These items will be used to furnish a newly-constructed shelter for battered women, scheduled to be opened this month. The shelter will provide temporary housing for a maximum of 12 women and their children.

The grant for furniture and appliances for the group's shelter for battered women, was given through the Canada Fund.

First Secretary of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Ms France Asselin, officially handed over the items on Thursday to Ms Denise Dias, Chairperson of Help and Shelter. The presentation ceremony was held at the Help and Shelter Crisis Centre, Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown.

The group now has beds, dining sets, stoves, a refrigerator, a freezer and washing machines.

Speaking at the ceremony, Asselin said CIDA is pleased to have developed a partnership with Help and Shelter. The work being conducted on a daily basis at Help and Shelter Crisis Centre, through counselling and related services, has been supported by the Caribbean Gender Equity Fund, a CIDA programme.

Asselin said there exist an Action and Outreach project and a Public Education Research and Documentation project at Help and Shelter.

Strengthening institutional and human resource bases through these projects has been an important goal of the group, she added.

Some of the activities have been the expansion of services, the setting up of a crisis hotline, production of a newsletter, the processing and analysis of data, the production of training manuals and, the awareness-building outreach workshops in outlying areas such as Lethem and Linden.

"The work that Help and Shelter is carrying out is vital to ensuring that the quality of life of women is improved and that their selfhood is allowed to grow and flourish," Asselin said.

Violence against women is disempowering, it is dehumanising and its eradication is the basis of establishing gender justice in the world, she maintained.

Asselin said that it is CIDA's hope that the items given to Help and Shelter will provide a "comfortable environment for survivors of family violence" and help create a "home-like atmosphere" of security and peace that will be conducive to healing.

Meanwhile, Help and Shelter has also benefitted from the Canada Caribbean Gender Equity Fund, with the financing of two projects at a total cost of $8,199,900 for a two-year period.

These projects are (a) Action and Outreach and (b) Public Education, Networking and Data Collection and Analysis.

The support from the Canada Caribbean Gender Equity Fund has allowed Help and Shelter to strengthen its capacity to deliver services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and to carry out public education, awareness, advocacy and training programmes with agencies, clubs, organisations, schools, Magistrates and the Guyana Police Force.

The aim of Help and Shelter is to contribute to the reduction of domestic and sexual violence in Guyana and to provide support services for survivors of abuse. (SHARON LALL)