Private donors have stepped forward to help complete the construction of a refuge facility for women and children escaping family and gender based violence. This comes at a time when a campaign is being led by actress Ama K. Abebrese to abolish medical fees for rape victims, highlighting the plight of victims seeking treatment and justice due to cost.
The Pearl Safe Haven in Accra will save lives by providing essential support and safety for women and children who are often left with nothing when they escape violent situations. The organization has recently received its NGO certificate from the Department of Social Welfare, Ghana. The team is undergoing training with the International Justice Mission (IJM) to ensure that it can manage reported cases with the care required.
To assist with the construction of the safe house has recently received a significant sum of 80,000 cedis from Accra based international drilling company, Geodrill. The mining services company has a strong philosophy of giving back to the community and CEO, Dave Harper, has shown an outstanding level of support to protect the lives of some of Ghana’s most vulnerable women and children. The Mohinani Group, a family owned manufacturing group shares this view and has been a solid donor. The combined contributions have funded a multi-level building with roofing and water tank having recently been installed. Ongoing work to complete the security setup of the compound still needs to be fitted out.
Once the haven is able to open it will be able to offer its patients 3 months of on-site support, including medical and psychological services and life skills training, followed by a minimum 6 month post-residency monitoring to ensure they are successfully reintegrated into the community. There are many components of care needed and the cost per survivor is 10,500 cedis (US 1900).
Audrey Ankah the Project Manager of the Pearl Safe Haven has strongly commended all those who are working to change the narrative on gender-based violence. A diagram below highlights the types of violence women and girls fall prey to:
Recently actress Ama K. Abebrese has drawn international attention to ensure free medical examinations for victims of sexual violence. “When victims arrive to the haven, one of the initial costs we have to cover are medical expenses and rape kits. Some survivors are not able to get the required examinations done because they cannot afford to do so and this leads to them not reporting the matter to police due to lack of evidence” Ms Ankah explains.
Ama K. Abebrese has called on the Government of Ghana to abolish the medical costs for sexual assault victims to enable them to seek proper justice against the perpetrators. The campaign that has been launched through the Change.org platform has received over 15,000 signatures so far and received the attention of the BBC and Reuters International.
Isobel Afful-Mensah (Acquah), Co-Founder of the Pearl Safe Haven and a lawyer by profession further highlights the need and responsibility of everyone to speak out about the injustices women face when dealing with gender based violence issues. She hopes that ensuring free medical examinations will reduce the stigma for victims to come forward as well as relieve the Haven financially, allowing them to use resources on the many other areas of care needed.
To support a survivor, donations can be made in full or monthly installments by the following ways:
Access Bank Ghana: Account No. 0030107532161, Osu-Oxford St Branch, ABNGGHAC
Mobile Money: The Pearl Safe Haven- 0247293648