The Center for Women’s Welfare in Peja not only offers housing, but also provides legal and psychological support, as well as professional training to women and girls who have experienced abuse and violence in their families. As a member organization of the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN), the center has sheltered 120 women and children in the past year alone, providing them with a safe haven away from violence and other abuses.
Between April of last year and March of this year, the shelter conducted psychological sessions for around 100 women and girls. The Center for Women’s Welfare, a beneficiary of a grant from the 17th round of the Kosovo Women’s Fund of KWN, held the sessions as part of the ” Providing housing, legal and psychological support to women survivors of violence” initiative.
According to Ardita Ramizi Bala, the director of the center, sheltered women were provided with legal advice over a six-month period regarding protection from domestic violence. “In this 12-month project, a lawyer visited once a week for six months to discuss the women’s rights and any issues they were interested in, such as inheritance, protective orders, or the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence,” Ramizi Bala said.
Furthermore, the center helped to increase the employment opportunities for 20 sheltered women by enhancing their capacities. Women and girls participated in courses, including cooking, computers, hairdressing, tailoring, and other jobs. These courses were offered to women and girls to pass the time but also to provide professional training since they were forced to stay locked up in shelters.
The director of the shelter noted that these activities brought progress to the women and girls sheltered in this center. “We have noticed progress because there has been a great interest in participating in both activities since women did not know about these things before. They did not have time to meet with a lawyer, so they were interested, and at the same time, they became aware of different issues,” she said.
This project was supported by the Kosovo Women’s Fund with the help of the European Union Office in Kosovo through the KWN initiative “Enhancing the Capacities and Resilience of CSO’s: Furthering Gender Equality Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.”