Domestic abuse remains a very common occurrence in Pakistan. Often resulting from forced and child marriages, this abuse is detrimental for the mental and physical health of the victim. With low levels of education and awareness prevailing, the women subjected to such violence are often helpless and are forced to remain with their abusers. This is where a shelter such as Panah, plays an important role in providing an option for these women to escape their miseries and rebuild their lives.
Panah provides shelter and solace to women who are victims of domestic and societal injustices and empowers them to take the path of socio- economic independence.
Panah accommodates women who are under threat as a result of exercising their choice in marriage or divorce, victims of domestic violence such as sexual abuse, assault and exploitation,and women seeking temporary refuge from other social injustices. Majority of women entering Panah are married, aged between 16–40 and mostly illiterate.
History of Panah :
The concept of women’s shelter project emerged from the experiences and combined expertise of some of the leading human rights and women’s organizations in Pakistan, who recognized the dire need of a women’s shelter.
Panah Trust was registered in April 24, 2001 under the Trust Act of 1882. The Shelter Home became functional in January 2002, initially at the premises of Ida Rieu Welfare Association with the support of the Infaq Foundation. Support of Amnesty International and local philanthropists helped make it a reality.
In recognition of the services provided by the management of Panah, the CDGK, in 2007, through an memorandum of undertsanding, handed over the Dar-ul-Aman premises to the Panah Trust. This was the first ever public-civil society initiative of the local government that has occurred in the Country.
In 2017, owing to the exceptional performance of the shelter, the agreement was extended by 10 years by the ‘Social Welfare Development’, Government of Sindh.
Panah receives women and children from all the provinces and houses 40-45 women and children at any given time and the numbers are increasing.