The Dubai skyline. Shamsaha is the only organisation of its kind in the region that provides 24×7 crisis support for victims of abuse and domestic violence.
Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Female victims of abuse and domestic violence in the Gulf Cooperation COuncil (GCC) countries can now benefit from a Dh1.24m funding from a cosmetics company.

The L’Oreal Fund for Women has pledged the amount to Shamsaha, a non-profit corporation based in Bahrain, to support its mission in protecting, advocating and empowering women in the GCC, the company said, adding that it was part of its ongoing efforts and commitment to support women’s rights.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities, affecting women socially and economically at a disproportionate level as well as increased cases of domestic abuse,” it pointed ot.

Against this backdrop and under ‘L’Oreal for the Future’ programme, the 2030 sustainable development roadmap, the Group launched the L’Oreal Fund for Women in 2020, a three-year charitable endowment fund of 50 million euros to support highly vulnerable women around the world.

Shamsaha (meaning ‘her sun’ in Arabic) is the only organisation of its kind in the region that provides 24×7 crisis support for victims of abuse and domestic violence. It will utilise the fund to expand the crisis programme’s services and on-the-ground operations to the UAE as well as in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. The expansion plan will include forging partnerships with key resource providers to offer victims medical, therapeutic and legal support as well as food, supplies and transportation.

App for victims of abuse

Shamsaha will also focus on streamlining the development of a mobile application to support victims of abuse across the region, which is set to launch in the UAE and the GCC in the third quarter of 2021.

Shamsaha’s mobile app will provide information and resources on women’s health and survivor support tools for victims and the general public. It will also streamline scheduling and communication between 100-plus volunteers as well as the registration of events and workshops. In addition, Shamsaha will extend its awareness programme campaign to wider audiences in the region.

Supporting 4,000 women

With the support of L’Oreal Fund for Women, Shamsaha aims to support 4,000 women by end of 2022.

Mary-Justine Todd

Mary-Justine Todd, founder and executive director of Shamsaha, thanked everyone associated with the project and said: “I founded Shamsaha because I believe in the potential of women. Working together to mitigate the effects of abuse and domestic violence can create lasting change for women, families and entire communities. When women thrive, everybody thrives.”

Remi Chadapaux

Commenting on the partnership with Shamsaha, Remi Chadapaux, managing director of L’Oreal Middle East, said: “As a Group that is committed to empowering women, it was essential to take action to help the most vulnerable women — particularly those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are inspired by Shamsaha’s tireless efforts and its true potential to alleviate the challenges that women face every day.”

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