The 2018 Appeal invites you to learn about and to support Christian Aid’s partner, the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC), in the work being done to address gender-based violence, and in particular the work of the Casa Noeli dos Santos safe house in the city of Ariquemes.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is particularly pervasive in Brazil. Recent research has shown that every 24 seconds a woman is beaten by a partner or ex-partner and in a 2017 nationwide survey almost a third of girls and women said that during the previous year they had suffered violence. Despite improvements in public policy and law, the reality is that gender-based violence is firmly rooted in a certain kind of machismo culture. The city of Ariquemes has a population of a little over 100,000 people and is situated in the Jamari Valley in north-western Brazil, just across the border from Bolivia. The city depends economically on mining, fishing, and logging, with open mining, in particular, seen as the root of much of the violence and inequality in the region which was flooded with workers from out of state. By mid-2010 Ariquemes was facing a serious problem with violence against women and a public meeting was held in which the mayor made a call to see if there was any interest in opening a safe house for women experiencing gender-based violence.
Casa Noeli dos Santos
The church community in Ariquemes responded and within 15 days the Casa Noeli became a reality. An institution was set up to run the house administratively and by 2014 the development service of the National Anglican Episcopal Church had established the partnership with Christian Aid which has allowed for the rental of a better house, the purchase of furniture for the house, improved infrastructure, and improvements in the work undertaken with the women themselves… but there is much more still to do.
The safe house is where a woman can come after she enters a formal complaint, about GBV, in a police station. The existence of such a house means that the woman does not have to return home to a violent partner or to rely on the support of family members who may well side with her partner. Women stay at Casa Noeli for different lengths of time but the maximum length of stay is usually three months within which time they receive support to work through their needs and to be able to move on with their lives. The house acts as a gateway for women to access services related to health, education, employment, and legal support and becomes a reference point and source of advice for the women who pass through it – women numbering some 1500 over the past six years.
The parish which supports the safe house, which serves nine other cities in the region besides Ariquemes, also serves the community of Sao Paolo San Pedro, supporting this financially poor rural settlement pastorally and in securing land rights. Work amongst the women of the community, carried out with a Christian ethos, deals with topics such as self-care and self-esteem, allowing for the introduction of discussion regarding violence against women in a more subtle way. The hope is that in the future the men in this community will also be engaged in discussion which empowers them to see that there are other options available to them as to how they treat women over and against those presented by their education or the way they were raised.
This year’s video highlights the importance of the work of the Casa Noeli dos Santos safe house, hearing from Fabiola, who herself has used the services provided there, and also from the driving force behind the work of the safe house, Rev Elineide Ferreira, who shares some of its story as one telling the everyday truth of what it is to provide sanctuary in a dangerous world.
Please find in the downloads box various resources and background materials that are available for the 2018 World Development Appeal, including a poster, worship materials and PowerPoint information slides.
To donate to the World Development Appeal for 2018 please click here.