http://is.gd/Grsjal ; More info and site to act and help!
It’s a regular day in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, and a young woman is walking home from university. She is taking the same route that she has strolled along almost every day, passing the same mundane scenes and seeing the same people, but today – before she reaches her front door - there will be one distressing anomaly. Today a car screeches to a halt beside her before two men leap out and take hold of her; one is gripping her arms and the other clamps his hands around her feet, lifting her off the ground. She screams and thrashes her limbs desperately but can’t stop them from forcing her into the car. She has been kidnapped in the light of day and she knows what awaits her once the car stops. Her kidnapper, with the help of his family, will force her to spend the night in his familial home. She may be raped, but even if she is lucky enough to escape that fate it will be assumed that her virginity and “honour” have been lost. Disgraced in the face of her own family and community, she will be left with no choice but to marry into this one.
This is Ala Kachuu – the alarmingly common and under-reported act of bride-abduction; a fate facing so many young women in Kyrgyzstan. Once a romantic, staged and consensual practice, Ala Kachuu has warped into a violent abuse of basic human rights effectively denying its victims the right to choose when and whom to marry. Occasionally some practice it in its purer form reminiscent of the romantic tradition, but today two thirds of Ala Kachuu customs are forced and non-consensual. To put the scale of this offence into perspective it should be known that approximately 50% of marriages in the country result from Ala Kachuu.
Although illegal, not enough is done to prevent or even reprimand this heinous crime with most people having become desensitised to the vastly common act. Restless Beings are attempting to tackle this indifference by mobilising people into action through raising awareness of the terrible consequences that can stem from it. These consequences can range from broken families, domestic violence and rape to, in severe cases, suicide.
Restless Beings Ala Kachuu Project
Partnering with an NGO in Kyrgyzstan called Sezim, our Ala Kachuu project works on three key fronts, that combined can provide long term and consistent positive change to Kyrgyz women:
A helpline that provides support & counselling to victims of Ala Kachuu
A refuge centre and home where women, sometimes with their children can try and rebuild their lives
And educational outreach programmes in schools, universities and the wider community to ensure that there aren’t more victims of Ala Kachuu.
How YOU can help
To achieve all of this though, we need your help. As it stands we need £550 per month to keep the project going, which can be funded by just 35 more people donating £15 a month to keep the project going, making a tangible difference to women’s lives. However, alternatively you can also donate a smaller amount too.
With your help in just 3 days, we have raised enough funds to buy special Eid treats- helping hampers consisting of clothes, toiletries and toys for their children- for the women at our refuge centre. However, we would still like to provide simple pampering products to the other women we meet in our outreach programmes.
Click here to Help Bring Hope to victims of Ala Kachuu.
'The Right To Choose' - RestlessBeings Kyrgyz Women's Right Project Documentary
The RestlessBeings team
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