Hotline# 613-1811/633-3788  Línea directa 608-2096,608 -2097 
Phone: 592-225-4731/ 227-8353/ 227-3454   Facebook 
Homestretch Avenue, D’ Urban Park, Georgetown. Guyana. S. A 

The Shelter

One of the main objectives when Help & Shelter was formed was the establishment and maintenance of a shelter for abused women and their children. It took some time for the first element of this objective to be realised, but thanks to the donation of land by the government of Guyana, a building grant from the Basic Needs Trust Fund and donations in cash and kind and fundraising to furnish and equip the building, the shelter (now called The Ixora) was first opened in November 2000. As we were unable to find donor agencies willing to fund ongoing shelter running costs, we successfully applied to the government for a Lottery Fund grant and were awarded $6m. These funds having been exhausted in early 2003, the shelter had to be closed for a couple of months until we were able to obtain a further Lottery Fund grant of $3m and reopen in April. The shelter had to be closed again in February 2004 as the lottery funds were running out, we had no other funds to continue to cover operating costs and the rate of occupancy had for some time not been such as to justify a further application to the Lottery Fund.

We believed that the low rate of occupancy was due not to a lack of need for a place of safety but to a cultural resistance on the part of most women (of all ethnic, socio-economic etc. backgrounds) to leave their homes, and following an unsuccessful attempt to pursue a partnership with a US-based organisation that was already running a children’s home in Guyana and proposed to establish shelters for victims of domestic violence here, we approached Dr. Dale Bisnauth, then Minister of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, and broached the possibility of collaboration between the ministry and Help & Shelter to facilitate the re-opening of our shelter for dual or multi-purpose use, namely a place of shelter for our clients and victims of trafficking in persons (TIP), and, possibly a children’s home. The suggestion regarding victims of trafficking in persons was made in the context of the ministry’s efforts to comply with the requirements of the US government in relation to TIPs and media announcements by the Minister within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security that our shelter had been identified as a place to house TIP victims. In January 2005 we responded positively to the government’s request that we allow the shelter to be used for the temporary accommodation of flood victims. Over 117 persons stayed at the shelter during a 3 week period. As a result of discussions with the Ministry of Labour, Human Services & Social Security, in August 2005 funding of $6 million was provided for the reopening and running of the shelter under an arrangement whereby the shelter would be used as a refuge for both female victims of domestic violence and their children and female and pre-pubescent male victims of trafficking in persons. The shelter was re-opened on 7 March 2006 and again we received considerable support from the donor community, business enterprises and private individuals in the form of donations of furniture and equipment, curtains, bed linen, etc. In June 2006 we also received support for the shelter under our USAID/GDCCR project. When these project funds were nearing exhaustion, we requested further assistance from the government and received $5m in early 2008 and a further $8m in early 2009. It is hoped that the government will continue to fund the only shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in the country. Since the shelter last re-opened in March 2006, the number of women seeking refuge there has increased, in no small part, we believe, to the effectiveness of our public education work. Efforts have always been and continue to be made to achieve some measure of self-sustainability for the shelter, including the rearing of chickens and planting of fruits and vegetables. Regular donations of foodstuffs and other supplies from a number of business entities and donations of furniture, clothes, books, toys etc. also help to keep running costs down. Our shelter manual, intake data and analyses of shelter data are available below.

The Shelter Manual (455.41 KB)