SAN FRANCISCO — In November 2015, the Women’s Resource Center Armenia (WRCA), a support center for women and families in Armenia, reached out to the Armenian International Women’s Association San Francisco (AIWA-SF) to help a family in urgent need. At the time both shelters in Armenia were at maximum capacity and a young mother had just mustered the tremendous courage to leave her abusive relationship.
The young mother had four children, ages 2-4, on November 30, 2015, after 11 years in a physically abusive marriage, she called the WRCA crisis hotline asking for help. At the time, she was also pregnant with a fifth child. She fled to her parents’ home, where she was given temporary refuge, since there are no state-supported shelters or any other form of material or housing support for victims of domestic violence. Living in her parents home was only a temporary solution. With the only two non-governmental shelters in the country at capacity, the WRC organized a global fundraising campaign to collect enough resources to support this family.
Within 48 hours AIWA-SF appealed to its membership and support base and was able to send emergency funds directly to the WRCA and the family within a few days. An AIWA-SF member was able to meet with the ladies at the WRCA. As one of the first to respond to the outreach for help, AIWA-SF was able to grant immediate assistance to the family. Additionally, the mother and the WRC in Armenia felt additional encouragement knowing that her reality had touched the hearts of those half way around the globe in the United States of America, she felt supported and not alone.
The WRCA shares that the “funding provided by AIWA-SF was both a valuable monetary contribution as well as an act of solidarity and support. Not only did it allow us [WRCA] to solve some urgent financial hardships for the family and her children at the moment, but it also proved that women’s organizations, if united, can do much more in the ongoing fight for women’s right and dignity worldwide.”
Right after getting the financial aid, the WRCA conducted the activities which were initially discussed with AIWA-SF, a safe house was rented for her and her children and all efforts were concentrated on her empowerment to become more self-efficient and independent. Six months after receiving support from the WRC, the young mother is in a much healthier place. She is able to care for her now five children. AIWA-SF, board member Viktoria Ter-Nikoghosyan PhD, was able to liaison both with the WRCA staff and the young mother to provide additional coaching on overcoming trauma. Both organization will continue to support her.
Donations can be sent to: AIWA-SF 15559 Union Ave #227, Los Gatos, CA 95032.
The Women’s Resource Center Armenia is the first resource and support center for women created in the region of South Caucasus.