ISLAMABAD: Women Caravan while concluding its two-day ‘Long March’ to highlight the miseries of the flood affected women, held a protest demonstration in front of the Parliament House asking for special budgetary package to address women’s suffering.
The unique visual stunt put together by flood-hit rural women culminated here on Wednesday.
The women’s caravan that started on Tuesday comprising a large number of women and girls from flood-hit areas demanded women’s prioritization in the flood rehabilitation process and budgetary allocation for women support programme. Participants were of the view that Women and girls have been the worst victims of 2010 floods due to their pre existing vulnerabilities. After almost a year of the devastating floods, millions of women are still desperately striving to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
ActionAid Pakistan’s Country Director Jemal Ahmed said it is imperative that government and NGOs keep their focus on women’s rehabilitation. Only strong, empowered women can build a safe and prosperous society.
He said that floods have pushed rural women into further poverty and suffering but they have immense resilience and courage of conviction and they are here to tell the world of their problems and demanded prioritization in the fiscal budget 2011-12.
Government must allocate budget for women support programme, which means they should be given Watan cards, proper shelter and income generating opportunities, he added.
Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) Director Sameena Nazir said that the impact of floods is not over yet. There are still millions of internally displaced families that are seeking to rebuild their lives; therefore, budgets should be allocated at federal and provincial levels so that poor people can be supported to overcome the flood devastation.
She said that since women primarily have the responsibility of feeding every person in the family, they should also be given assistance in terms of food production and food storage facilities.
On the occasion, women and girls shared their personal stories and testimonies with the audience. They said that poverty has compelled women to resort for begging.
One such woman was Manzooran Mai from Taunsa (South Punjab) who said she had started begging to feed her six children. A girl, Farzana, shared that she had to leave school, as her parents cannot afford to buy books and pay school fee. She said that they have not been given ‘Watan Cards’, while in some cases the cards are unable to draw any money from the bank.
Source: Daily Times