Establishment of Asian Network of Women’s Shelter
Almost 200 hundred delegates participated in the 2013 Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters organized in Kaohsiung from December 2 – 3, 2013, where the establishment of the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters was announced. The overseas delegates were from 11 countries (including Japan, Singapore, Nepal, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, etc.) The Garden of Hope Foundation hosted the 2013 Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters. In addition to discussing the situation of shelters (in terms of advocacy, services, policies etc.), different needs of battered women in the process of their life reconstruction was discussed.
From the survey conducted by Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) of more than 44 countries and 121 shelters, it is found that 8,148 women worldwide were turned away from shelters due to lack of resources, 77% of shelters do not have enough government funding, 68% lack financial security, 68% of shelters are forced to operate shelters giving low wages to employees, 50% of shelters cannot find professional staff, while 25% of shelters use volunteers who are committed to maintaining the shelter. In current situations, many shelters face challenges in sustaining long-term!
Facing the situation of Asian battered women
According to UN Women’s 2012 survey, a high proportion of Asian women suffer domestic violence by an intimate partner (Bangladesh 53.3%, Thailand 47.4%, India 37.2%, Vietnam 34.4%, Nepal 28.2%). It is evident that Asian domestic violence victims urgently need various kinds of support from governments and civil societies. The Chairperson of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters Bandana Rana expressed that, “Asian Network of Women’s Shelters is a significant platform for Asia, in addition to facing the situation of battered women in Asia, Asian shelters can also look forward to more sharing of successful experiences, and together end to the violence.”
GOH pointed out that women’s shelters provide emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors as well as long-term shelter, which is an important facility for protecting survivors from their batterers. Apart from providing shelter, other services provided include assessment, counseling, legal advice, accompaniment to legal proceedings, skills development, financial support etc. It can be seen that women shelters have the opportunity to allow domestic violence survivors a chance to restart their lives.
In February 2012, Global Conference on Women’s Shelters held in Washington, D.C. The Garden of Hope Foundation was one of the convener at the Asian Round Table Discussion, where there were more than 50 Asian delegates from 16 countries (including Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, India etc.), who expressed the hope to establish an Asian Network as they discussed about networking, mutual sharing and learning. The same year in September a steering committee was formed, when 30 Asian delegates from 14 countries gathered, and drafted the vision, values, purpose and objectives of the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters.
Vision of the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters
1) Give voice to Asian women in the development of the global agenda: Through convening conferences for Asian Women’s Shelters, and gathering more Asian representatives to join the network, encouraging more Asian organizations to be concerned about issues related to domestic violence survivors, and addressing issues faced by organizations due to the Asian culture and paradigm of thinking;
2) Through the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters to continuously have exchanges with other regional networks;
3) Expand cross-sectoral collaboration in Asia between governments, corporations, and NGOs.
The Garden of Hope Foundation CEO, Hui-jung CHI, was selected as Chairperson of the steering committee. Other committee members includes those from Japan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. The representatives covered the three regions: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. Apart from discussions on policy, legalities, management, and implementation, solutions on helping women rebuild their lives in terms of housing, relationship rebuilding and employment were discussed.