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ISLAMABAD: There is at least a good news for the women of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), wheras an NGO in Islamabad- Aiming Change for Tomorrow (ACT) International has also launched a toll-free help line for women confronting any distressing situation or condition. 

The Chief Executive of ACT Mubashar Nabi, said that the toll-free help line ‘Bolo’ (Speak out) has been launched in Islamabad in coordination with the government of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with ‘Trocaire’ (the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland) and the Australian Government. 

“This project, aimed at encouraging the girls and women in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa by offering them free legal assistance and psychological help if required, was much needed. Such facilities are already available in most parts of the provinces of the Punjab and Sindh, but lacked in KP and Balochistan,” he said. 

“Now girls and women of the KP, experiencing any form of gender-based or domestic violence or oppression have a credible and authentic source where they can approach without spending even a penny.

They can approach this toll-free helpline ‘Bolo’ where well-trained staff would be available to help and guide them as to what they could do, how they can have access to justice and even provide them psychological counseling if they are suffering from any trauma,” Mubashar Nabi said. 

He appreciated the government of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to help launch this help line for girls and women in the province where cultural and traditional barriers have kept the girls and women behind in the race of life and where domestic violence and gender-based violence mostly goes unreported. 

The spokesperson for the ‘ACT said that the toll-free help line, which was launched earlier this month within the premises of the Social Welfare Department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, has already started operations. 

“It was launched at an impressive ceremony held in Peshawar on December 8, 2016 which was chaired by the Provincial Minister Sikander Sherpao and other senior officials of the KPK government.

 The Australian High Commissioner was also present at the launching ceremony,” the spokesperson said. 

She said that since the launch of the help line ‘Bolo’, around 7 or 8 calls are being received daily from different parts of KP, but mostly from Peshawar. 

“So far we have not received any complaint regarding serious form of gender-based or domestic violence. In fact we can understand that some of the girls and women calling on this help line were facing some serious problems but they are not willing to press the matter to the point where they could ask for some legal support.

And we can understand their situation. So, what mostly these women and girls are asking for is the socio-psycho therapy, which is being provided to them by the expert staff engaged for the purpose,” she said. 

“However, we feel that gradually the confidence of girls and women in the KP would build up and the time would come where they would actually start speaking out loud against the gender-based and domestic violence and about their rights granted and enshrined in Shariah as well as the Constitution of Pakistan,” the spokesperson for the ACT said. 

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