Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection, CEE-HOPE Nigeria and International Group, Heart100 have launched the Heart of Hope Shelter, a safe space for Survivors of Gender Based Violence.
While speaking at the commissioning of the shelter, Betty Abah, Founder and Executive Director, CEE-HOPE Nigeria, explained that the shelter was set up with the aim of providing a safe space for women and girls who are grappling with various issues of gender based violence.
Abah buttressed that, the shelter will “provide temporary accommodation, psychosocial support and empowerment for women and girls.”
She also used the opportunity to decry the inadequate responses to gender based violence by governments at National and State levels, revealing that Nigeria has less than 20 shelters for women, and the ones in existence are being run by private organizations.
“Many women remain in abusive relationships because they do not have any place to go to and government shelters are very few and far in-between. As it is with government business, even the very few run by government are mostly on life support. Most of them are perennially deprived of qualified staff, food for residents and generally running at low and negligible budgets, if ever they exist.
“Besides the Lagos State and Ekiti State governments, which are doing credible work in response to GBV and have some of these infrastructure and legal mechanism in place, most other states in Nigeria are performing woefully in that front.”
Abah thereafter called on government at various levels “to consider the need for setting up of shelters as a major priority.”
While commissioning the shelter, Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, who doubles as the representative of Heart 100 in Nigeria, commended CEE-HOPE Nigeria for the initiative which would bring succor to several persons.
Dr. Bassey also tasked the Nigerian government on the need to do more to provide housing for its citizens, especially for the less-privilege and GBV survivors.
Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, Executive Director, Project Alert and founder of the first shelter for women in Nigeria, commended Betty Abah for setting up the shelter.
She reiterated that shelters are few in Nigeria and it could be overwhelming for CEE-HOPE Nigeria, but however advised that “you need to brace up for the task and your passion and commitment to the course would see you through.”