A woman walks home caught in in a monsoon storm in Dhaka. (Patrick Brown|Panos Pictures)
My NGO, the Noor Education Trust, is going through a transitional phase. We are conducting a needs assessment for Trocaire (the Irish charity that gives us funding). My staff have spent the last two weeks in the field assessing the main violence related issues for women. They are also looking at the differences our programmes have made and collecting data.
What is emerging is that there is a huge communication gap between the youth and the older generations. The older generation still tends to hold onto traditional views. They insist on forced marriages and don’t feel the need to get the girls’ consent before marrying them off. All this is timely information, because I will be attending a regional conference in Islamabad next week on women affected by violence.
These days I’m not involved in programme planning, but in diversifying our work, in the context of organisation development. One of my new ideas is to open up a take-away food restaurant that could be run by women who have been victims of violence, to help their rehabilitation. It would provide the means to add to their income.
I have located a shopping plaza in Peshawar where we could open this take-away food place. But I need someone who can support me, basically a manager who can look after its day to day running. I am not too confident that I can do this on my own. These days, I am spending more time at home, since I have developed a back problem. It started when I was leaving for our workshops in Bangladesh. Now I can’t move around too much.
I also want my senior NGO staff to start taking over more responsibilities. When I am there in the office, they tend to shove everything onto me. They have to start taking on more responsibility overall. I am also preparing to go to Australia in December to visit my son and the lady who has been fundraising for my NGO.
This woman is currently raising money for the homes my NGO will be building for last year’s flood-affected villagers in Tangi district. Luckily, we have not had heavy rains in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year. The torrential rains hit further south in Sindh, which has been badly affected this monsoon season. Most of the international NGOS have gone to Sindh to help the flooded villagers. For us, it is too far out of our reach and we simply don’t have the funding to work in another province.
Read more from Zubaida Noor:
- about women forced into marriages by the older generation
- about the land the NGO has bought for flood victims
- about the trip Zubaida Noor made to Bangladesh
- about one of the shelter homes run by Zubaida’s NGO for women who are victims of domestic abuse
As told to Rina Saeed Khan