Special Report: Perwani: New Effort to Help Women Affected by Southern Unrest

Monday, 14 April 2014 By  NNT

Bangkok, 11 April 2014 - Women and children are vulnerable people suffering from unrest in the southern border provinces both directly and indirectly. One of the prominent organizations working actively for them is “Deep Peace,” a non-profit organization run by local Muslim women leaders. Deep Peace has recently branched out into “Perwani” which specializes in assistance for victimized women.

While Deep Peace’s mission focuses on orphans, Perwani, officially launched in March 2014 in Yala province, emphasizes the importance of aid for female victims. During the launching ceremony of the group, there was an activity called “Perwani CloseUp Program” attended by representatives of the civic sector. The group used this opportunity to clarify the rumors of a disagreement between Deep Peace and Perwani and briefed the representatives about its missions.

Chairperson of Deep Peace NureesanDolohhas explained the reason behind the establishment of Perwani, saying the new organization was set up to help tackle Deep Peace’s increasing work involving women and families. Perwani’s missions seek to help women affected by the Southern fire by creating jobs for them, developing their potential and arranging useful activities to empower them.

Most of the Deep Peace and Perwani members are teachers, civil servants and officers from various units. The fact that the two organizations are driven by full-time employed workers has led to the misunderstanding that they have recently played a less active role and have no longer worked with other organizations on women and children in the deep South.

Perwani’s urgent work is to provide assistance for grassroots women whose voice needs to be heard by the society. It is important for them to be better informed and understand the ongoing peace dialogues carried out by the government and other sectors.

Despite its support for the government's peace dialogues, the group disagrees with the enforcement of special laws in the region such as the Emergency Decree and the martial law which it believes affect freedom of the local people. A Perwani leader has said the group constantly urged the government to lift the special laws but to no avail. The leader then stressed that Deep Peace, Perwani and other groups of the likes were able to take care of local women and children by using other tools and mechanisms since they did not believe in the efficiency of the special security legislations.

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