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As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Ethiopia, the country’s already high unemployment rate increased and travel restrictions obstructed safe migration pathways for thousands of Ethiopians. In a desperate attempt to provide for their families, many turned to people smugglers who promised jobs. For Amen Kifle, her journey ended with three months of imprisonment in a foreign country before she was deported back home.
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Simret Tesfaye is nurse at the Association for Women's Sanctuary and Development, a non-profit organization in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which manages six shelters for survivors of gender-based violence. Currently, she is working at the Transitional Shelter that opened in April 2020 with support from UN Women.
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Around 550 women survivors of domestic violence from Kosovo were admitted to shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic, with support from UN Women within the regional programme on ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey, “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” funded by the European Union.
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In an undisclosed location in Sombor, Serbia, 41-year-old Marija Tomic* is putting the finishing stitches on face masks. She has made hundreds of these fabric masks since Serbia declared the COVID-19 epidemic in March. Tomic is a survivor of domestic violence and lives in a safe house for women survivors. “I got support in this society when I needed it most and now it feels great to give something back,” she said. “It's a wonderful feeling to be able to provide a little help...
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On 24 September, on the margins of the UN General-Assembly, UN Women hosted an interactive data lab to showcase the new Women Count Data Hub, the first of its kind to provide public access to gender data that can be used to monitor progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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For Ina Grădinaru, a psychologist with a women’s centre in Moldova, her work with survivors of violence is much more than a job, it’s a social responsibility and her life mission. For the #HearMeToo campaign, she talks about her work, the persisting challenges and myths that must be broken to end the violence.
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Dunya Khalil* and Basma Hamed* are both survivors of domestic violence. Living in a rural area, with limited livelihood opportunities and confronted with the need to provide for their children, they found protection support and counselling services at the women and girls’ centre in Ajloun operated by the Institute for Family Health and UN Women, with the generous support of the Government of Japan.
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Shamima Ali is a feminist activist from Fiji. She is the chairperson and one of the founding members of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women. She has been a Coordinator at the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre for the past 31 years. Ms. Ali has also served as a Human Rights Commissioner in Fiji from 2004 to 2006. Her work has included developing and conducting training with police and other service-providers in Fiji and in the Pacific region.
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A new programme supported by UN Women in Kazakhstan is demonstrating a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing violence against women. More cases of sexual abuse and domestic violence are being reported, specialized centres have been set up in each district to provide comprehensive services for survivors.
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The “Good Garden” is a social enterprise for growing organic vegetables, and also a training centre for organic production for women survivors of domestic violence who wish to get involved in this sustainable farming method.
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Waad Hayef Alhlaili wants to create the first women’s shelter in Kuwait so that she and others can be safe from violence
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Muna Hadad has suffered a lifetime of violence and abuse. Fearing her son’s safety, she left her abusive second husband and found refuge in a woman’s shelter supported by UN Women. Today, she is safe, independent and a working mother.
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In 2015, UN Women Ethiopia Country Office partnered with the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD) to establish the largest shelter in the country in Oromia region, as part of the ‘Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls in Ethiopia’ programme
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Under-funded and facing huge demand for their services, non-state domestic violence centres offer women anonymity, confidentiality and comprehensive housing, psychological, legal and social support.
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With 6 out of 10 women having experienced intimate partner violence, most Moldovans perceive violence against women as an unresolvable issue. Maia Țaran, 38, lives in Firladeni, a village in the south of Moldova. After receiving support from the women’s shelter in Causeni, she became a “positive champion” and is now helping other women survivors to speak out and seek help.
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UN Women-supported project leads to Municipal Coordination Mechanisms and a more effective response by Kosovo’s police, judiciary, NGOs, shelters and other institutions working with domestic violence survivors.
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Safe and child-friendly, Georgia’s domestic violence shelters, set up with UN Women support, give women job training and medical, psychosocial and legal assistance to help them rebuild their lives.
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On 6 December, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka engaged with survivors of domestic violence and service providers at a shelter in New York City. The visit took place during the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women.
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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.
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The launch of Thailand’s pioneering One-Stop Crisis Centre by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 9 April reinforces the continuing efforts to respond to and prevent violence against women and girls after Thailand joined UN Women’s newest global initiative, COMMIT.