In November 2015, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), a support center for women and families in Armenia, reached out to AIWA-SF to urgently help a family in need. At the time both shelters in Armenia were at maximum capacity and a young mother had just mustered the tremendous courage to leave her abusive relationship.
The young mother had 4 children, ages 2-4, on November 30, 2015, after 11 years in a physically abusive marriage; she called the WRC crisis hotline asking for help. At the time, she was also pregnant with a 5th child. She fled to her parents’ home, where she was given temporary refuge, since there are no state-supported shelters or any other form of material or housing support for victims of domestic violence. Living in her parents home was only a temporary solution. With the only 2 non-governmental shelters in the country at capacity, the WRC organized a global fundraising campaign to collect enough resources to support this family.
Within 48 hours AIWA-SF appealed to its membership and support base and was able to send emergency funds directly to the WRC and the family within a few days. An AIWA-SF member was able to meet with the ladies at the WRC. As one of the first to respond to the outreach for help, AIWA-SF was able to grant immediate assistance to the family. Additionally, the mother and the WRC in Armenia felt additional encouragement knowing that her reality had touched the hearts of those half way around the globe in the United States of America, she felt supported and not alone.
The WRC shares that the “funding provided by AIWA-SF was both a valuable monetary contribution as well as an act of solidarity and support. Not only did it allow us (WRC) to solve some urgent financial hardships for the family and her children at the moment, but it also proved that women’s organizations, if united, can do much more in the ongoing fight for women’s right and dignity worldwide”.
Right after getting the financial aid, the WRC conducted the activities which were initially discussed with AIWA-SF, a safe house was rented for her and her 4 children and all efforts were concentrated on her empowerment to become more self-efficient and independent. Six months after receiving support from the WRC, the young mother is in a much healthier place. She is able to care for her, now 5 children, and is empowered to make decisions and to take responsibility for her children. Along with the WRC staff, AIWA-SF, board member Viktoria Ter-Nikoghosyan PhD, was able to liaison both with the WRC staff and the young mother to provide additional coaching on overcoming trauma. Together with the WRC, we will continue to support the families’ physical well being along with their mental health and psychological well-being.
This truly is a heartwarming story. As an AIWA community we are grateful that were able to send immediate aid to help and empower a family in need. As AIWA-SF grows and gives back to our local community through educational and networking events, we hope that our community will continue to support our initiative sin Armenia as well as individuals in need, such as this young mother.
Donations can be sent to:
AIWA-SF 15559 Union Ave #227 Los Gatos, CA 95032
About the Women’s Resource Center:
The Women’s Resource Center Armenia (2005) is the first resource and support center for women created in the region of South Caucasus. WRCA is working in the area of women’s right, reproductive and sexual rights, sexual and domestic violence and women’s role in the conflict resolution and peace building. Among other activities which promote gender equality in the country, WRCA is an organization which provides services to the victims of gender based violence. Sexual assault crisis center which has been created by WRCA in 2008 is the only center in the country which provides services to women and children who have been sexually abused.