ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell has said her country is committed to work with Pakistan to eliminate violence against women.
“I believe that initiatives such as this project which aims to assist survivors in their rehabilitation process while providing them with an opportunity through knowledge of the business of photography to become entrepreneurs can bring hope to the lives of these brave women,” she told an exhibition at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), where nine acid attack survivors, trained as photographers, unveiled their photographs to mark the National Women’s Day on Wednesday
The three-day ‘Visual Art Exhibition of the Work of Acid Attack Survivors’ has been funded by USAID, in collaboration with Aurat Foundation and the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) under its Gender Equity Programme. The ASF project aims to strengthen private shelters, provides psychological and legal counseling and offers skills training as a part of the rehabilitation process for acid attack survivors. The exhibition displays the work of nine acid survivors who attended a two-week photography training
workshop. The workshop was led by Spanish photographer Diego Sanchez and Pakistani photographer Myra Iqbal, who taught the survivors to express themselves through photography. The goal was to assist the survivors in their rehabilitation process while providing them with photographic knowledge and skills
that may later result in an income-generating activity.
ASF Chairperson Valerie Khan demanded government pass comprehensive ‘Acid and Burn Crime Bill’at the provincial level to ensure the provision of rehabilitation services for survivors. “Pro-active and constructive response to acid and burn violence must be part of the wider indigenous policy to counter gender based violence in our country. For this, we need a stronger legal framework with an adequate implementation mechanism,” she said.
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