Lakshmi Puri visits centre for women survivors of violence in Morocco

Date: 04 Oct 2013

Rabat, Morocco

During an official visit to Morocco to attend the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Rabat, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri visited the Nejma Centre, where women survivors of violence benefit from counseling, training, information, psychological support and legal advice.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri speaks with women survivors of violence at the Nejma Centre in Rabat on 1 October 2013, during a visit to Morocco to speak at the Fourth Congress and World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders organized by the United Cities and Local Government. Photo: UN Women/Nabil el Asri

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri speaks with women survivors of violence at the Nejma Centre in Rabat on 1 October 2013, during a visit to Morocco. Photo: UN Women/Nabil el Asri

Established by the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women (ADFM) in 1997, it is one of 52 centres that are part of the Anaruz a network supported by UN Women since 2005 to strengthen the fight against gender-based violence. Through this project, UN Women contributes to strengthening the response and services to women survivors of violence and creating a national database on gender-based violence, which can aid in policy-making.

At the Nejma Centre, Ms. Puri met with women as well as the staff members of the NGO. Sitting around a table, the women shared their stories.

“My husband kicked me and my child out at 2:00 a.m. at night and without money. I went to the police station but I realized my husband had already bribed them. My family is modest and couldn’t help me. I came to Nejma Centre. Mounia [one of the counselors] gave me advice and put me in touch with a lawyer to help me take the right steps,” said one of the women.

Another woman recounted that she was so desperate when she first arrived that she “wanted to die”. But sharing her story with Mounia helped her to focus on her child and “to fight for her rights”. “With the support of ADFM, we know our rights and we feel empowered to face our perpetrators and start legal proceedings against them,” she added.

While in Morocco, Ms. Puri also attended the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, where she underlined the importance of ground-up policy-making and the critical role of local decision-makers to ensure the inclusion of women in all areas of society. Debates and themes focused on how to foster strengthen solidarity among territories, support new local governance and promote diversity.

Ms. Puri also met with high-level national authorities members of the UN Women Civil Society Advisory group.