Women and children constitute nearly 80% of our clientele. They are often traumatized by past experiences of sexual violence and conflict. Their struggle is compounded by language barriers, a lack of awareness about their rights and uncertainty about their legal status. In recent years, there have been several reports of women and children facing sexual violence, exploitation and even being forced to engage in survival sex by their own family members. As a result, we have come to see that cases involving women and children cannot be treated as routine asylum claims. In 2016, we propose to formally launch this Initiative to provide exclusive support and enhanced assistance to women and children as they recover from conflict and adjust to life in India. Ara is currently in the process of raising funds to kick-start this Initiative.
In 2017, Ara is conducting a legal awareness program to educate refugee women about their rights under India's domestic laws against SGBV. The project adopts a three pronged approach of individual counselling, community outreach and capacity building for interlocutors.
Ara is currently working with a group of Afghan refugee women to generate livelihood options by harnessing their skills at embroidery and other traditional handicrafts. The organization is currently looking to raise funds to launch this project on a larger scale in 2018.
On February 11, 2016, Ara organized a panel discussion titled "Conflicts are not Gender Neutral: How to Protect and Empower Women and Girls", in collaboration with The Aman Trust and with support from the Embassy of Switzerland (https://www.facebook.com/events/536922363150799/).