The messenger logo

Now she has hope…

Friday, December 18
Commit, Act, Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women

The International Rescue Committee is participating in the worldwide annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. This year’s 16 Days campaign theme is Commit, Act, Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women. Part of IRC’s campaign has taken place in Shida Kartli/South Ossetia Adjacent Area villages: it was called Women’s Voices from the Georgian Buffer Zone. The UNHCR-funded IRC Protection Monitoring team organised this campaign from November 25 through December 10.

On December 10, the IRC held a closing meeting of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in the Didi Mejvriskhevi school with teachers, nurses, parents, housewives and programme volunteers. Representatives of the Gori Gender Resource Centre and the police also attended the meeting.

Representative of the IRC Marie-Lise Coudert noted: “Education and awareness are the keys to elevating us as a society. Education about gender equality not only benefits women, but also sons, husbands, brothers and fathers. Gender equality forges stronger bonds in society, helps to empower our families, increases our social security and gives us the benefits of mutual support. The more we live as equals, the better chance we stand of creating a better future for ourselves and our families. Gender equality should not be limited by religion or by antiquated traditional beliefs, but rather be promoted based on knowledge of its benefits.”

The UNHCR-funded IRC Protection Monitoring programme covers 45 villages of Shida Kartli and as Deputy Governor Zurab Lomidze stated: "IRC identifies and refers cases to the proper Government agency, and usually has success in helping victims. Both the Gori and Kareli Municipalities urged IRC to expand this programme geographically from 25 to 45 villages. From them we heard about the survivors of sexual and gender based violence and tried to make victims’ lives easier.”

Nana Khoshtaria, Project Assistant and psychologist of the Sakhli Women's Consultation Centre, said: "This summer, the IRC Protection team referred a survivor of sexual and gender based violence, S.K., who had a baby, to us for shelter. She told us that the IRC team had found her far away from her village in another town. Her one month old baby had sepsis and needed treatment. S.K. lives in our shelter now and has hope for a better future. She is learning computer programmes and often mentions the IRC, which gave her first aid and referred her to Sakhli where she found peace again.”

After the meeting the Protection Monitoring team visited 107-year old Maro Gurtsishvilis, the oldest person on the IRC database. She has received an emergency allowance and also linen and blankets from the UNHCR Gori Field Office. Maro says: "It is important that both women and men live in communities where they feel safe and secure”. This is the most popular message from all buffer zone villages to the Georgian Government, neighbouring countries, donor agencies and ordinary people.