Hyderabad and Secunderabad are twin cities, and home to unique religious and cultural demographics. Since our founding five years ago, many of our clients and team members alike have travelled from Secunderabad to reach Operation Peacemaker Counselling Centres.
In December 2015, we responded to this need for localised support by launching the Secunderabad Counselling Centre! This centre is proving to be as pivotal as we anticipated, and is operating with its own dedicated team of PeaceMakers and two Counsellors.
Now, it’s time to expand.
The caseload in our Secunderabad Centre has grown steadily. New partnerships with the Police Central Crime Station (CCS) and Women Police Station have caused cases to pour into our Centre as police direct many of their domestic violence cases to us for support and management. Our Centre requires immediate expansion in two ways. First, we need more space to handle the client and case load generating many counseling appointments each day. Second, we need more team power to provide in field follow up and support to each client. Case management of victims of abuse often requires extensive hand-holding and long term aid.
We have already moved into a new building to give our team the space needed to handle cases. We are planning a PeaceMaker training for July 2017 to add an additional 10 confirmed PeaceMakers who will provide in field support to our clients.
The cases we receive in Secunderabad are particularly challenging. This is largely due to the caseload received from the police. Every domestic violence case that reaches the police is required to go through a mandated 3 counselling sessions before the case is filed. Without the capacity to manage this process, police rely heavily on our Centre. These cases are unique in that they are brought forward by the small percentage (only 1 out of 5) of women who ever speak up about the abuse they face. These victims are at a point where the abuse is so severe, that they have finally reached the point that they are willing to put aside the stigma of making a report. By nature, these cases are extremely harrowing and challenging.
Those who follow our work, and have supported previous campaigns will remember our client Sandhya and her two beautiful daughters who fled in the middle of the night to escape the house where she endured 16 years of life threatening abuse. We successfully raised funds for 2 years of education for her girls, and they are doing very well on their own. However, Sandhya would never have been able to make that bold step if she had not had the support of our Secunderabad Centre, its Counsellors who provided local support, PeaceMakers who helped her with each step, and safe space that received her and her daughters with their few precious belongings the night they escaped.
We will be launching a fundraising campaign in July to raise $10,500 to fund the Secunderabad Centre Expansion. This budget will cover rent for the safe space in which our clients access our services + 10 new PeaceMakers. The impact of this expansion will be around 120 domestic violence cases resolved in the year of funding. It also facilitates community workshops (Basti Meetings) and School Workshop that will train 2,500 women and 4500+ school girls on their rights and protections from different forms of violence, abuse and harassment.