Art work drawn by Afghan women survivors of violence assisted by HAWCA
I write from Afghanistan to ask for your help, which we urgently need. The situation here for women victims of violence is deteriorating as the unending conflict we live in continues. My organization, Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA) is trying to establish a legal aid center in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh province. We have successfully raised $50,000 but we need an additional $50,000 to launch the center.
Balkh Province has one of the highest number of cases of violence against women. On average HAWCA has followed 140 to 160 cases in the province each year. The number of unregistered cases could be exponentially greater. We have noticed that violence against women increase as poverty, joblessness, and insecurity increase. Balkh province also has a high incidence of attempted suicide. In 2017, Balkh Public Hospital recorded 700 such cases, of which 70% were women who had been victims of violence. The number of cases of women and girls running away from home to escape violence is also increasing every year.
There is an urgent need to ensure that the justice system works to better protect women from violence. Women are not aware of their rights and there are not adequate legal support mechanisms to ensure justice for women victims of violence.
Since 1999, HAWCA has been committed to safeguarding Afghan women’s rights through education and the operation of four legal aid centers, as well as one shelter for women survivors of violence. Our new legal aid center will provide much needed support to women victims of violence in Balkh including free legal and psychological services.
We sincerely hope you will help us raise the funds we need to build a legal aid center. We are halfway there and need your support now more than ever as international aid and media attention towards Afghanistan is fading. Please help us protect Afghan women and girls. Together we can save lives.
Executive Director, HAWCA