At the end of February 2012, UAF received a request from MCKSV in response to the growing situation of violence experienced by women living in tents in the aftermath of the earthquake in the city of Van. Funds are to be used to send volunteers to Van to create “solidarity tents” and provide psycho-social services for women survivors. MCKSV approaches the work from a perspective of solidarity, as opposed to the typical humanitarian approach which generally has a connotation of charity. It aims to collaborate with VAKAD (Van Women’s Association) and other women’s associations in Van to organize women to work in the solidarity tents. The earthquake which occurred in October 2012 caused a situation where hundreds of thousands of people are forced to resort to tent housing with dismal living conditions, and as of early 2012, many were still living in the camp. As in many post-disaster zones, women and children in Van are the most affected and are exposed to higher rates of violence including sexual violence at the hand of men because of a lack of resources and lack of law enforcement. In addition, Van is located in Kurdistan, and the Kurdish minority in Turkey is under constant threat from the state. UAF’s Regional Advisor agrees that women in Van are in urgent need and the situation in the post-disaster camps is dire.
MCKSV runs a counseling center and women’s shelter in Istanbul where volunteer lawyers and psychologists support women living under the threat of violence. It also runs workshops and engages in creating a national convention of organizations working on violence against women.