PULIH- Promoting Recovery for Women Post Violence and Disaster
Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world, and yet very little information about the country is known in the international sphere. Some know that we are a Muslim majority nation, but we are not a Muslim country. Our archipelago includes more than 13 thousand islands- we stretch from the tsunami affected Aceh province in Sumatra to the West Papuan province which borders with Papua New Guinea.
I co-founded PULIH Center for Trauma Recovery and Psychosocial Intervention in Jakarta in 2002. It is a national non-profit organization staffed by psychologists, social workers, community counselors and community workers. As a psychologist, I was concerned that there were not many psychological service providers for those affected by violence and disaster. Women and children were affected by different types of violence everyday and were in need to have gender-sensitive services by psychologists and counsellors that understand the gender dimension of gender based violence. In disaster settings, women and children need special care and support, and many disaster relief efforts often overlook specific women's needs.
In Jakarta, we have a center that provides individual, group and family counselling for survivors of violence. Our center also provides expert witness testimony in the Indonesian court on psychological impacts of violence. We also provide psychosocial support for humanitarian workers and human rights defenders.
In Banda Aceh where we have been working prior to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, we work more on community level interventions with women. Our women's division post tsunami worked with women who were displaced by the worst disaster in world history, assisting them in adjusting to their more permanent housing, identifying topics that promote women's empowerment for community discussions,promoting more equality partnership in marriages, setting up support and income generating groups so women can recover in all aspects, physically, psychologically, spiritually and economically.
We believe in identifying community and individual resilience mechanisms that are culturally sensitive in different areas that we work with. For more information on PULIH, please visit our website: www.pulih.or.id
Internally Displaced Women that we have worked with have reported greater self confidence, increased ability to be community organizers and have become community leaders. In our urban setting, in Jakarta, women who received our services were more aware of safety promoting behaviors, understood that the cycle of violence can be broken so that women can live lives free of violence.
My vision for the future is to establish many more PULIH offices in different parts of Indonesia. We are a vast country and we currently have 2 offices in Jakarta and Banda Aceh. I am hopeful to realize this vision in the next 5 years.