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AIWA and the Women's Support Center


Hear from the volunteers at the AIWA-supported Women's Support Center in Armenia: 

In early July, Holly Aldrich and Janet Yassen, both from the Cambridge (MA) Health Alliance, traveled to Yerevan to conduct a week-long training for the Women’s Support Center staff. It was a remarkable success, and everyone found the time spent together so worthwhile.

Women's Support Center staff continues to learn the best methods for working with an extremely vulnerable population and to take that training to social workers, police and other social workers. The Women's Support Center meets the international standards set for domestic violence shelters.
From left, Holly Aldrich, WSC staff member, Janet Yassen, Maro Matosian, WSC Director with two WSC trainees.
AIWA and the Women's Support Center

The Armenian International Women's Association is a founding funder of the Women’s Support Center (WSC), which was established in 2010 in partnership with the Tufenkian Foundation and USAID to assist women who dealing with domestic abuse.

AIWA's funding has helped support staffing and supplies for WSC's (hidden) shelter, protecting women and children who have found the courage to leave their abusers. AIWA's fundraising goals for 2017 has allowed WSC to open a second (hidden) shelter to help with overflow needs and women transitioning out of their emergency shelter and into permanent housing.

WSC’s objective is to create a safe environment for women – a place where they receive support, empathy, and the knowledge that they are not alone in their struggles. Women are provided with practical learning about domestic violence, as well as counseling that bolsters self-esteem and confidence -- which can be a long process with many lapses, bumps and bruises. Wrap around services -- educational, legal, social, and psychological are available to women who escape to the hidden location of WSC's shelter.

Located in Yerevan, but working across Armenia, the Center also advocates for women's rights and legislation, conducts public education campaigns about healthy relationships and early warning signs of abuse, runs a national hotline, and trains professionals (social workers and police) who respond to domestic abuse situations.

WSC works to change accepted myths and taboos regarding domestic violence as well as the role of women in society. Promoting political, economic and social rights for women, WSC trains and educates the professionals working with domestic violence (police and social workers) and combats the larger, thornier problems of gender inequality, stereotypes, and patriarchal values. Together with accomplished groups such as the Women’s Resource Center, and other NGOs, WSC raises awareness among young women about positive values and healthy families based on relationships of partnership, not control.