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WOMENS REFUGE- CENTRO DE PROMOCION DE LA MUJER MANOS DE PAIS (OTRA COSA PROGRAM)

PERU | Thursday, 24 July 2008 | Views [1713]

   

WOMENS REFUGE- CENTRO DE PROMOCION DE PA MUJER MANOS DE PAIS (OTRA COSA PROGRAM)

WOMENS REFUGE- CENTRO DE PROMOCION DE PA MUJER MANOS DE PAIS (OTRA COSA PROGRAM)

Ana, Meindert, Noemi, Susannah Jerome and I headed back onto the road in the packed taxi towards the women's refuge, which is the only one in the north of Peru. Laura Chalan de Vizconde, a local who has been volunteering here for about 9 years, warmly welcomed us into the home.  

 

As Jerome and I began interviewing her, a man tapped on the window. He had brought food for his wife and children... so strange considering where we were. He said he wanted to see his children, but Laura did not let him, and instead gave him a piece paper from a book... i have no idea what it was. 

 

Later Laura informed us that the man had come to the refuge at about 6am and was found banging on the window of his wife and children's room, upsetting them. Laura told us that the woman came here with her children because her husband had been constantly humiliating and insulting her, and at one stage had beaten her. She also explained that he may have a mental problem due to drug use in the past.

 

Laura says witnessing violence in her own family in the past has made her now want to help other women. They have saved alot of young couples from going down a path of violence, by separating them, teaching them, and then re-introducing them. But Laura says that it is hard when there has been violence within a couple for many years, and it is necessary to protect the women here at the refuge.

 

Receiving sad, mistreated people, and then bringing them to a better state with new found knowledge of their rights, is something that Laura loves within her work. The hardest thing for her is the fact that they get no financial help from the government except for electricity and gas. They have gone for two months without paying their rent which is about 200 soles, and the center is close to shutting down.

 

They have land to build a centre in Esperanza but they don't have the money to build it. A Spanish group called Circulo Solidario has offered to build a center near where the dumps are, but they have no land there. It is a struggle for Laura and the others to work here also, as they are in great need of volunteers.

 

When we left the refuge and drove off in the cab, the man who wanted to see his wife was waiting and wanted to talk to us. The man asked Jerome if he could help him get his wife and children back. Jerome said he could not do a thing, and we both found the man´s comment fairly dominating when he said ¨The bible says that women don't have the right to put rules in the house.´´

 

Waiting in the cab, Susannah mentioned that the man's comment reminded her of Cepan (pre-Inca) times, when women were put on the same hierarchical level as prisoners. She then picked up her guitar and played us a song that she wrote, while singing beautifully on the way to the program.

 

If you would like to help the women's refuge in any way write to [email protected] or visit http://www.otracosa.nl/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE NOMADIC HANDS JOURNEY GO TO WWW.NOMADICHANDS.COM

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