"Himaya": safeguarding women and combating HIV
October 16, 2023
In Karakol, the Women's Protection Center "Himaya" has been a beacon of hope since it was founded in 2017 under the Public Association "Ulukman Daryger." The Centre profoundly supports women who live in difficult circumstances and who suffer from domestic violence.
The UNDP "Effective HIV and TB Control" project funded by the Global Fund, aids the center’s outreach workers. It develops HIV testing programs for women in key populations and provides screening services, free STI diagnoses, a referral system to friendly medical organizations, and a subsidy for electricity costs.
Staff from "Ulukman Daryger" emphasize that the center accommodates not only women from key population groups but also those from the general population.
"Women who have experienced violence can turn to us. We provide up to 14 days of temporary accommodation and sanitary services. We have street lawyers, a psychologist, and assistance to recover their documents",shares Mariya Lichanyu, a program officer of the organization, highlighting that the Centre's work thrives due to the support from local authorities and other donors.
"Through the State social order, we've procured bakery equipment and now offer courses for women. Our partners from other donor organizations foster entrepreneurship, provide psychological support, and develop employment programs", added Mariya.
The team at "Ulukman Daryger" continuously seeks opportunities to empower women who have faced violence or are in adverse life situations.
Asel, a social worker from "Ulukman Daryger", reflects on the challenges encountered:
"Many people fail to grasp the gravity of the situation when informed about HIV. I work extensively with people to ascertain their HIV status and facilitate their visits to hepatitis and HIV control centers. We also have a mobile group, reaching out to the inaccessible areas of the Issyk-Kul region. Just last year, six women were evicted from their homes after their HIV status was opened in my practice alone. This is a pressing issue; many of them are wives of migrant workers and could have only gotten HIV from their husbands. Yet, the blame often falls on women".
Despite receiving support from local authorities and some donor organizations, the center is underfunded.
"The residential quarters of our 'Himaya' center require significant repairs, particularly the room housing the baking equipment. We need furniture and a children’s room. With numerous plans in mind, we continually seek funding, ponder new projects, and welcome any help to sustain the center’s operations", expresses Ulan Tursunbayev, Executive Director of "Ulukman Daryger."
According to data collected and analyzed by the organization, in 2022 alone, 44 women, victims of domestic violence, sought refuge at the centre, 28 of whom were accompanied by children. Approximately 100 women victims of domestic violence received various services at the centre in 2022.
The UNDP "Effective HIV and TB control" project supports the HIV component based at "Ulukman Daryger," key population groups in the Karakol, Issyk-Kul, and Naryn regions of Kyrgyzstan to access friendly medical and social services.