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Go Fund me initiative to help women: UN Climate Change secretariat raises money for the Frauenhaus

Go Fund me initiative to help women : UN Climate Change secretariat raises money for the Frauenhaus

The Staff Association of the UN Climate Change secretariat raised money from staff members in a bid to support the Frauenhaus in Bonn. Via a Go Fund me initiative, the staff now donated a total sum of €1,400. Two representatives from Frauenhaus Bonn “Frauen helfen Frauen e.V.”, Ulrike Große-Kreul and Elsa Bleeck, met in front of the UN Campus with UNFCCC Staff Association representatives Ambretta Perrino (President), Tracy Tollmann (Vice-President), and Mary-Jean Abrazado, where the money was handed over in a small, symbolic ceremony.

The Staff Association of the UN Climate Change secretariat raised money from staff members in a bid to support the Frauenhaus in Bonn. Via a Go Fund me initiative, the staff now donated a total sum of €1,400. Two representatives from Frauenhaus Bonn “Frauen helfen Frauen e.V.”, Ulrike Große-Kreul and Elsa Bleeck, met in front of the UN Campus with UNFCCC Staff Association representatives Ambretta Perrino (President), Tracy Tollmann (Vice-President), and Mary-Jean Abrazado, where the money was handed over in a small, symbolic ceremony.

Whether you are single and have been lonely, or a family with small children in a home serving as both office and schoolroom, the lockdown has proven difficult for everyone. But this imposed confinement is having even worse impacts if you are locked-in and trapped with an abuser, isolated from those who could help you, and unable to escape by going to work or visiting friends.

Echoing Covid-19 and inextricably linked to the extent of the lockdown, cases of domestic violence are surging around the globe, with the city of Bonn being no exception. In spite of a relatively light lockdown, the incidence of domestic violence in our community is on the increase. While several Bonn-based organizations are helping to deal with this crisis, they are all struggling to keep pace with the flood of women and children desperately seeking a safe place to live, free from the threat of violence and abuse. The Frauenhaus in Bonn is a not-for-profit organization, and as such receives limited financial support from the state, being largely reliant on donations to fund its important work, especially as many of the women they aid have little or no source of income.

The Staff Association of the UN Climate Change secretariat first became aware of this issue thanks to a fund-raising initiative run by their sister UN Convention on Desertification (UNCCD) secretariat towards the end of 2020, and they decided to add their efforts by raising money from staff members in a bid to support the Frauenhaus in Bonn. A Go Fund me initiative was duly launched, and the staff donated a total sum of €1,400.

On Wednesday, 28 April 2021, two representatives from Frauenhaus Bonn “Frauen helfen Frauen e.V.”, Ulrike Große-Kreul and Elsa Bleeck, met in front of the UN Campus with UNFCCC Staff Association representatives Ambretta Perrino (President), Tracy Tollmann (Vice-President), and Mary-Jean Abrazado, where the money was handed over in a small, symbolic ceremony.

When asked about the women seeking their help, Ulrike Große-Kreul stated “we simply aim to help victims of domestic abuse, no matter their nationality or status. We take them in at any time of the day or night, advising and supporting them to the extent we can.” She went on to explain “In order to ensure protection against infection, which means no multiple occupancy of rooms, and to preserve the previous, urgently needed number of places, we have had to rent an additional apartment. This obviously comes at a cost to the organization, and, when you add in disinfectant, masks, and testing kits as part of our new normal, this is really stretching our financial resources to the limit.”

The Frauenhaus Bonn “Frauen helfen Frauen e.V.” has dispensed with certain bureaucratic measures, which would provide more funding, and sees them charging women a mere €7 per night. This approach is unfortunately not replicated across many other women’s refuges, who have high daily rates. This inevitably prevents women who might be here without papers receiving places, as they are not in a position to apply for state help. Ms. Große-Kreul added “At the end of the day, it’s the fact that these women have experienced domestic violence that establishes the overriding acceptance criteria and not whether they can afford to pay the rent!” Covid is just another aspect that needs to be factored into the equation, as this prevents women from sharing rooms until they have been tested and found to be negative.

Ambretta Perrino mentioned that the reasons for launching this initiative were two-fold; to raise money, but perhaps more importantly to raise awareness amongst UNFCCC staff members and our local community to the plight of these women, and to issue a general plea for continued donations in support of the organizations’ selfless efforts to help those who are less fortunate.