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Funds dearth impedes women’s uplift: Fatima

KARACHI – The women development department of Sindh is facing shortage of funds and support from the federal and provincial governments, Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, Women Development Department Sindh (WDDS) told The Nation on Sunday.

She said: “An amendment bill regarding violence against women will be presented in the cabinet meeting today (Monday). “In this bill we have recommended the government to accelerate the justice system in order to provide legal assistance to the victims immediately. The bill also carries amendment to provide protection to the family of the victim.”

While giving the information about the progress of WDDS, she said that the department was facing problems in providing shelter to the women in Sindh. “There are few shelter houses in the province which are not sufficient to meet the needs of Sindh. The department has its shelter homes in Sukkur, Larkana, Hyderabad, Jacobabad and Mirpurkhas.”
She further expressed that the shortage of funds remains the basic obstacle that the department is facing these days. “We have asked the federal government to release the funds allocated for the development of women, so that the department will work vigorously.”

Replying a query about the number of shelter houses, she said: “These shelter homes not only supply asylum to the women who have faced brutality by the hands of society, but also to their families who are facing life threats afterwards. The department has its shelter houses only at division level. There is a great need to expend these existing shelter houses on the distract level.”

Fatima said on the cases like Tasleem Solangi, Maria Shah and others who had been accused of karo-kari, the women were not the only victim of violence. The family also suffers very badly and sometimes faces life threats. At that time they provide shelter and protection to these victimized families at their shelter houses.

“One of the basic objects of the Women Development is advocacy for women empowerment in Sindh. It is considered that one of the main causes of backwardness of women is lack of awareness of their basic rights. They are unaware of the ways and means to access the resources for which they are entitled. The department needs fund in order to create awareness among the masses in Sindh. Unless women are aware of their rights, it is impossible to ensure their protection,” she added.

While giving her views about the working condition of WDDS she said that the situation under which the department was working could easily be interpreted by looking at the number of employees. The directorate of WDDS had only 34-member staff. This is not sufficient for the whole province of Sindh.

“We need more staff and volunteers to work for the betterment of women in the country as well as in Sindh,” she concluded.
Source: The Nation
Date:2/9/2009

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