Mariam Al Hammadi, manager of the Women’s Protection Centre, at the shelter in Sharjah. Sarah Dea / The National
Mariam Al Hammadi, manager of the Women’s Protection Centre, at the shelter in Sharjah. Sarah Dea / The National

Sharjah shelter offers more than just refuge to abused women



SHARJAH // A women’s shelter has moved beyond providing a refuge for victims of domestic violence to giving them more options for a vastly better life.

The Women’s Protection Centre in Sharjah is helping to reintegrate its residents into society by teaching them skills and encouraging them to launch their own businesses.

“We have to work to change the feeling of the ladies so they forget about the abuse, so they will not stay at one point crying about their situation and go forward,” says Mariam Al Hammadi, the centre’s manager.

“Also, if they have the same situation in future they will know how to deal with it.

“They should be independent and not depend on us because there is life outside the shelter. Nobody is here to stay for their lifetime. They should go back to the community or to their families and their children.”

Opened two years ago, the centre provides a haven, legal assistance and psychiatric help to abused women and those cut off financially by their families or neglected by husbands.

The women moved into a larger villa five months ago, enabling the shelter to hold workshops for them and their children.

Initially focused on helping Emirati women, the shelter has since taken in women from other Arab and Asian countries, including the Philippines.

The centre has given refuge to 61 women and 35 children since it opened in 2012. There are now four women living under its roof.

Its goal is to encourage reconciliation, motivate them to be independent and teach them to cope with future challenges.

Counselling helps them to deal with the drunken violence and infidelity to which some of them have been subjected, and while some women go home to their families, others set up their own homes.

The shelter works closely with the police. Before a woman is admitted, a case is filed with police about the abuse. If the police deem it a risk for her to go home, or if she has no place else to go, she is admitted.

“We work with the police so we are not working alone,” Ms Al Hammadi says. “They bring the man, they work with him, tell him to change his behaviour and to sign a paper that he will not do it again.

“Some go back, some divorce because the man gets drunk and has affairs and you can’t change it. Some have problems with their families.

“We help to build their self-esteem and we try to find work for them. Some get jobs and are starting to build their own lives.”

There is a strict privacy code so the women and their families cannot be identified. Workshops teach women their legal rights.

The staff first tries to mediate between the women and the husband or family.

“First I sit alone with the woman and listen to her story, then I sit with the husband or the family and listen to them,” says social worker Fatima Al Sehhi.

“I don’t know which story is correct, so I put it together because I want to solve it. They must want to solve it and not leave things as they are.”

Women often arrive at the shelter with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, says Ms Al Sehhi.

“When she comes she doesn’t have anything, only an abaya and shayla,” she says. “So we give them everything to make them feel like this is their house.”

The centre’s 24-hour hotline can be reached at 800 700 by victims of domestic violence or anyone witnessing aggression against women.

How to help

Call the hotline on 0502955999 or send "thenational" to the following numbers:

2289 - Dh10

2252 - Dh50

6025 - Dh20

6027 - Dh100

6026 - Dh200

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR

Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Consoles: PC, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X and S
Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Subscribe to Beyond the Headlines
RACE CARD

6.30pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 Group 1 (PA) Dh119,373 (Dirt) 1,600m

7.05pm Handicap (TB) Dh102,500 (D) 1,200m

7.40pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Turf) 1,800m

8.15pm UAE 1000 Guineas Trial (TB) Dh183,650 (D) 1,400m

9.50pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,600m

9.25pm Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1,000m

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Co Chocolat

Started: 2017

Founders: Iman and Luchie Suguitan

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Food

Funding: $1 million-plus

Investors: Fahad bin Juma, self-funding, family and friends

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8