Women's Empowerment Project
Since early 2011, the number of refugee women in Israel who have been victims of rape and sexual violence during their flight through the Sinai desert escalated dramatically. Many of those in ARDC’s emergency shelter for homeless women struggle emotionally, psychologically and financially which exacerbates their ability to come to terms with the trauma of displacement and abuse. They typically suffer from chronic depression and anxiety.
In response, ARDC launched the Women’s Empowerment Project in November 2010 to psychologically and economically uplift these women through creative therapy. The project either complements or replaces individual psychological therapy which the women are typically reluctant to seek as it is a foreign concept in traditional African societies. Through designing, making, marketing and selling a variety of handicrafts we hope to enhance the women’s self-sufficiency and employability, decrease their social isolation and develop their adaptive coping strategies. Repetitive movements, such as crocheting, have been shown to greatly reduce stress. Additionally, the project provides participants the opportunity to develop a supportive community and strengthen their collective potential.