NEF Launches New Initiative to Support Women Victims of Domestic Violence in Armenia

Yerevan, Armenia (April 24, 2013) – On Genocide Remembrance Day, dedicated to honoring the over one million Armenians who lost their lives during and after World War I, the Near East Foundation (NEF) is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative in Armenia to help women victims of domestic violence.

During the next 18 months, NEF and its local partners will support at least 50 Armenian women by providing them with training in job and advocacy skills, as well as assistance to secure employment.

Through the initiative, participating women will choose one of two opportunities to earn an income. Women may either pursue a job within a network of existing businesses or receive management training and financial support to launch their own small micro-enterprise.

“Opportunities to gain economic independence – like the ones we’re fostering through this project – are critical for women whose wellbeing can depend on having the financial resources to escape a violent home,” said Dr. Charles Benjamin, President of NEF.

In recent years, NEF has helped dozens of entrepreneurs overcome poverty in rural Armenia utilizing the same economic development approach that will be implemented in this initiative.

NEF is excited to expand these successful efforts to include women who are victims of domestic violence, a widespread problem in Armenia. According to a study conducted by Amnesty International, nearly 60% of Armenian women experience physical abuse on a regular basis.

In this new focus, NEF is pleased to partner with the Open Society Foundation, the U.S.-based Tufenkian Foundation, Business Pareta, the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Women’s Support Center. The Center is located in the capital city of Yerevan and serves women victims of domestic violence from other urban centers as well as rural areas.

NEF and its local partners are currently researching the most viable types of micro-enterprise and employment opportunities for women in Yerevan and the next largest city of Gyumri.

In addition to economic benefits, the initiative will establish a support network to provide ongoing mentoring to women. Participants will also receive training to improve their communication and advocacy skills, as well as build their confidence.

The Near East Foundation has a long and distinguished history of service in Armenia. The organization was established in 1915 to aid Armenians fleeing the Genocide.

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