Last week, I wrote an entry about the world’s most dangerous places for women. Pakistan came third on the basis of cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women, according to a global report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A few days later, I was approached by the head of a non-profit organization working for women’s rights and peace in Pakistan. She was asking for help.
Dr. Shabnam Nazli contacted me through the online women’s network PeaceXPeace, a grassroots community of women who share cross-cultural solutions to achieve peace in their families, communities and in the world.
Dr. Nazli is the chair of Hope Development Organization, founded in 1997 by a group of feminists to address and combat the “daily abuses and crimes against women in Pakistan, such as child marriage, honour killing, domestic violence, acid throwing, bride burning, dowry death, murder of pregnant women, human trafficking, sexual violence and female genital mutilation,” she says.
Despite some government’s actions, violence and discrimination against women remain rampant, as the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s TurstLaw global report testifies. “It is difficult to work for peace and equality in an environment of deep-seated traditionalism, terrorism, political instability and bad economy,” says Dr Nazli. 90% of Pakistani women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Women in the country earn 82% less than men and 1000 women and girls are victims of honour killings ever year, according to the global report.
HDO is doing much needed work to educate and empower women, and provide health services and skills training. But they lack the resources needed to keep going. “We need your encouragement and your help to continue working,” Dr Nazli pleads.
Please, visit HDO website and send messages of support, and if you can donations.