RAHIM YAR KHAN:
Women at a local darul aman have complained that there are not enough funds available to provide them with food for sehri and iftar during Ramazan.
“The district administration hasn’t even released our funds prescribed in the budget. It’s been ten months and we are in debt,” said darul aman worker Asif Muhammad Faqeer. Faqeer said that he had been haggling with the district government for months but the funds had not been released. “We have already exceeded our capacity when it comes to the number of women we are allowed to house and yet we haven’t gotten the funds. We are surviving purely on charity and with the help of some local philanthropists but this is not their job,” he added.
Faqeer said that the darul aman had the capacity to house 20 women but at present it was housing 27 women. “We spend nearly Rs2,900 on food every day for the entire centre but we don’t have any money coming in. We have been borrowing from neighbours but it is getting hard to keep it up,” said a worker at the darul aman Hafeez.
“We don’t even have money for sehri and iftar. As it is we are the ones cooking and helping around the centre because there is very little staff but now there we are also running out of supplies,” said Safia Bibi, who had arrived at the darul aman with her four-year-old daughter two months ago after her husband nearly killed her on suspicion of having an affair.
Local residents have also protested against the district government saying that the darul aman had not been provided any funds for six months. “Even before that they did not get the complete amount they were owed. This cannot be tolerated. These women have already suffered enough at the hands of their families and society,” said volunteer Shagufta Niaz, adding “they shouldn’t have to suffer from hunger.”
Darul aman workers said that they were struggling to make ends meet with regards to supplies as well their monthly budget. “The local community helps out by donating clothes and some supplies for the residents in lieu of charity but it is not enough to survive on and the money is inconsistent,” Faqeer said.
(Read: Devolution: ‘Make Punjab run women’s shelters')
Darul aman inmates have appealed to local philanthropists and NGOs to assist them during the month of Ramazan. “We have tried appealing to the government but we are much more likely to get help if we ask the local community,” said Razia, who has been at the darul aman for four months said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.
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