Rebuilding and Revitalizing Communities Ravaged by Warfare
A Note from the President & Founder of Women Beyond Survival: (Safiyya) Marcia Sarkin
The early years of the 21st century offer us much opportunity to shape the future of the world in unprecedented ways. The last century, despite its many advances, has made us aware of the devastation that we are capable of inflicting on each other. There is much to be thankful for and there is hope and considerable resources available to affect the life circumstances of women. It is this backdrop in which Women Beyond Survival (WBS) was founded with a commitment to providing a global resource to women in war-torn and post-conflict societies.
WBS reaffirms the fundamental principle set forth in the Vienna Declaration and Program Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, that the human rights of the woman and the girl child are an inalienable and indivisible part of universal human rights. In the course of conflict, WBS will work with its partners and networks to provide women and children with basic elements of human security. In post-conflict environment, WBS contributes to supporting the redevelopment of affected regions by providing resources to women to participate fully in community renewal and redevelopment, including opportunities for literacy and knowledge based on human rights perspective, and workforce and survival skills training.
WBS recognizes wide evidence of discrimination and violence against girls at the earliest stages of life that continue unabated throughout their lives. They often have less access to nutrition, physical and mental health care and education and enjoy fewer rights, opportunity and benefits of childhood and adolescence than do boys. They are often subjected to various forms of sexual and economic exploitation.
WBS recognizes that the girl child of today is the woman of tomorrow. The skills, ideas and energy of the girl child are vital for full attainment of the goals of equality, development and peace. For the girl child to develop her full potential she needs to be nurtured in an enabling environment, where her spiritual, intellectual, and material needs for survival, protection and development are met and her equal rights safeguarded.
Women Beyond SurvivalWBS (A 501c3 non profit organization) Seeks to help women and children build better lives in conflict and post-conflict societies.
WBS recognizes that women play vital roles as caregivers, laborers, activists, and intellectuals in communities around the globe. WBS also recognizes that all too often women are made the victims of abuse, sexual violence, and gender discrimination and that such injustice frequently prevents women from attaining the respect they deserve and fulfilling their potential as active contributing members of society. Recent global conflicts have shown that warfare and violence disproportionately affect women and tend to exacerbate their victimization and marginalization.
Based upon the principles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, we strive to give women a better tomorrow and a brighter future that is free of violence and discrimination. WBS is a nongovernmental nonprofit global humanitarian organization that seeks to prevent and eliminate violence against women, children and adolescents in areas affected by conflict or war. Our programs provide security, medical and psychological care, medicines and health supplies, social services and education to support and strengthen the critical role that women play in rebuilding and revitalizing communities ravaged by warfare.
WBS seeks to help women in areas affected by war and violence to rebuild their lives and promotes a society that respects, protects, and widely includes women. Our work is organized under the following goals:
WBS works with international and local agencies to provide shelter to women and children displaced or fleeing war and conflict. It considers safety, collective and individual security, protection, and safe access to food, water, and firewood as a fundamental right and basic need for recovery. WBS offers training programs on self-protection and survival skills which are particularly critical in war and conflict zones.
Educating the Child on the Human Rights Perspective WBS believes that the education of the girl child as well the boy child is a crucial element in affecting societal growth and attitudinal change towards the girl child. Helping to bridge the gap towards gender disparity, WBS works with parents, educators, religious and tribal leaders in rearing the boy child to have greater respect for girls and women. WBS will also work with government, local agencies, educators and other members of civil society to establish schools in the United States and other parts of the world.
Providing Health Resources
WBS partners with national, local government officials, international agencies, and other civil society organizations to bring health experts, physicians, psychological counselors, physical therapists, and other professionals to conflict zones to help treat the disabled. WBS facilitates the delivery of materials and in-kind donations to establish and implement health-related policies and infrastructure investments. Doctors and health care professionals travel from around the world to assist and train medical professionals in developing nations. HIV/AIDS rapid testing, counseling, and ongoing care will be made available to refugee camps, IDP camps, and other remote areas. WBS will also supply ARVs, nutritional packets, and clean drinking water to those living with HIV/AIDS. WBS deploys medical professionals into conflict regions to provide immediate counseling and testing to rape victims.
Rehabilitating and Repatriating into Families and Communities
WBS seeks to protect victims of rape, disabilities, HIV/AIDS and other diseases and their dignity as human beings. WBS and its trained psychologist/psychiatrist partners work to provide psychological counseling, education and outreach to families, community leaders, civil society, tribal and religious leaders. Administered in local languages, these programs will be initiated in the various areas where the victims had once resided and were once able to call home. WBS will ensure the safety of these victims even before they are repatriated into their society. WBS will aim to avoid further trauma, and decrease additional harm or deaths.
Addressing the Needs of Orphans
Conflicts around the world have produced orphans in staggering numbers. In order for an orphan to have a normal childhood he/she must be given proper shelter, food, clean drinking water, clothing, access to education and health care, as well as emotional, psychological, medical and physical needs. WBS works with existing orphanages and helps with the building or the conversion of facilities to increase the services available, hiring professional personnel, as well as incorporating health care and educational facilities as an all inclusive community. These efforts are accomplished through the combined effort of WBS, local governments, civil society, religious, tribal, community organizations and donor nations to ensure that these orphans are not subjected to human trafficking, armed conflict, gangs, forced conscription into militias, drugs and sexual exploitation.
Developing Skills for Sustainability
WBS empowers women and gives them the skills necessary to survive in post-conflict societies. It achieves this through assessing specific skills that each woman possesses and seeks to capitalize on them through the availability of microfinance. This will enable her to access financial avenues to insure the support of her family. Additional financial resources will enable the family to send the girl child to school, preventing her from staying at home.
Empowering Personal Growth and Leadership
WBS aims to give women affected by conflict the tools to voice and pursue their dreams. It seeks to give women a right to self determination through education, training, and psychological care. To achieve this goal, WBS sponsors activities that offer women the opportunity to express their thoughts, beliefs, and dreams in various artistic, intellectual, and professional areas, such as public speaking, journalism, literary publication, the performing arts, legal and scientific fields. WBS trains women not only to be advocates for their rights, but also to serve in local government and parliamentary positions and decision-making processes in policymaking and legislation.
Photo Credits: Darfur Rehabilitation Project & The Mission of Palestine to The UN Drawing by Alvaro Website Design & Construction by Artist Smith Georges (www.ArtandFreeWorld.com) _________________________________________________________________________