Distressed Ganderbal women pin hopes on SAKHI

SAKHI, a one-stop centre (OSC) for women, is turning to be a refuge for women in Ganderbal facing physical, sexual, psycho-social or economic abuse.

Women of Ganderbal now see a ray of hope in SAKHI to get their issues addressed.

Recently, the J&K government in coordination with the district administration, NGOs, and other volunteers started the OSC to help women in distress in Ganderbal.

The OSC is presently functioning from ‘Hope Disability Centre’, an NGO at Wayil Ganderbal.

In the all-women run center, Huzaifa the Center Head Administrator at the NGO, works with eight other female members dealing with women victims.

She has been part of the SAKHI initiative after the district administration roped them in.

Talking about how OSC and their work came together, Huzaifa said that a few months back a woman in need had approached the Police department as she needed shelter after giving birth to a baby and having nowhere to go.

“As there is no shelter home in Ganderbal, a Police official approached our NGO for the woman’s accommodation. We accommodated the woman and provided her shelter,” she said.

The center got its name after the government roped them in for the broader initiative started under the Government of India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development initiative with the Ganderbal district administration.

The OSC provides counseling and emotional support to women in distress.

It also provides women with rehabilitation and medical service if required and legal support without any charge.

The center caters to women who have been victims of rape, acid attack or domestic violence.

SAKHI registers women above the age of 18 who approach them while those under 18 years of age get referred to Juvenile Justice after being entertained in the center first.

As per the official data, two of the seven victims have been given a compensation of over Rs 2 lakh.

The compensation depends upon the nature of abuse, and financial and family stability of the victim.

The cases are mostly related to domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The financial aid and other help is provided through district administration and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

On how SAKHI is helping women in Ganderbal, a young female baker, Nayeema said, “We are happy to get an opportunity like this. More women can come here and share their experiences. We are hopeful in getting justice. There is no shame in sharing one’s pain.”

Talking to Greater Kashmir, DC Ganderbal Shafqat Iqbal said, “We are in the process of identification of land for the center which is temporarily functioning from the ‘Hope Disability Centre’. It will be identified in two to three weeks and eventually construction will be started.”

The DC assured that the land will be identified for the permanent establishment of the center near District Hospital Ganderbal.

“As per the protocol, the center should be within the radius of 2 km from the hospital,” he said. “Publicity will start next week. The awareness camps will be organised in far-flung areas for the people to know the objectives and functioning of this OSC.”

Besides conducting awareness campaigns, the process of making pamphlets and posters through Information, Education and Communication (IEC) would be formulated and distributed among the masses to highlight the role that SAKHI plays in the lives of the women.

The J&K government through the Government of India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development has planned to make several OSCs for women in distress.

SAKHI is one such initiative which has emerged as a savior for women. These centers have been started in Srinagar, Kishtwar and other districts as well.