Darfurian women are particularly vulnerable members of an insular community that often lacks access to decent health, social or legal services. These women are at risk of being disenfranchised because of mental or medical health problems, discrimination in the community because of past sexual violence or because of poverty due to a lack of income generating skills. Some even face homelessness. Many Darfurian women are in critical need of assistance, both for their own sake and for the sake of their children and their communities. This need is made even more pressing by the fact that the next calendar year is likely to see an additional influx of Darfurians to the United States.
It is clear that access to the right kind of legal, medical, or social support at the right moment can make a radical difference in the lives of these women. The IJP is already very active in this area, and in the past, it has provided individual emergency aid on a case-by-case basis. Now, we are expanding to provide aid on a case-by-case basis as part of a larger emergency response mechanism to reach more women and families.
Our goal is to coordinate an organized network of health care, social services, legal professionals, and others to assist Darfurian women and their families in the United States. And, ultimately, our hope is that this Network will be sustainable and function on a peer-to-peer basis, being led by Darfurian women themselves and making the IJP’s response actions unnecessary.