The Australia High Commission has presented an amount of GH¢197,366 to Pearl Safe Haven, a charity organisation, for the construction of a safe home for female survivors of gender-based violence in the country
Construction and operational costs of the refuge centre
The charity organisation will offer a three-month safe recovery environment for young victims of domestic violence and equip them with skills training for their economic independence.
Inadequate safe homes
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At a ceremony in Accra yesterday, the Australian High Commissioner, Mr Andrew Barnes, who presented the cheque covering the amount, said the current support system for survivors of gender-based violence in Ghana was inadequate and underfunded.
He said a project like the one initiated by Pearl Safe Haven would help create a refuge “where women and children who have suffered domestic violence will feel safe to rebuild constructive lives for themselves.”
It is for that reason, he said, that the Commission was pleased to donate the amount which was raised during the 2018 annual Melbourne Cup Charity Gala organised by the Australia High Commission in Accra.
He said the fund was realised through the generosity of sponsors including mining companies in Australia, local corporate bodies, hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
According to him, the campaign on violence against women was an important component of the Australia High Commission’s work both locally and internationally and for which reason the government of Australia had implemented policies around the world to address the scourge.
Mr Barnes acknowledged that domestic violence was a global problem and that violence against women was perhaps the most widespread and socially tolerated form of human rights violation.
He added that violence against women was a major obstacle to the fulfilment of women and girls rights and achieving the agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Project Director of Pearl Safe Haven, Ms Isobel Acquah, thanked the Australia High Commission and all corporate organisations that contributed to raising the fund.
Giving a background to the project, she said the safe home idea grew out of ‘The Lady Organisation’, a non-profit project aimed at empowering young girls aged 18 to 25 years to speak up against rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence, as well as make them confident to appreciate their value as women.
She said the project was also informed by the fact that there were a number of women who did not find their homes a safe place to live due to violence perpetrated against them by either their families or friends.
She said the charity organisation was working closely with public institutions such as the Social Welfare Department and the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service to ensure that the safe home project was a success.
Ms Acquah explained that when the shelter was completed, DOVVSU would help bring in the victims while the Social Welfare Department would assist in integrating them back into society after their three-month stay.
While in the home, she said, the victims would have access to medical, psychological and legal assistance and counselling and would also receive vocational training to prepare them for successful integration into society.