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About Women Aid Trust

Women Aid Trust (WAT) is an independent, not-for-profit non-government organization dedicated to alleviating the suffering of women in prison in Pakistan. The organization provide legal aid and rehabilitation services for imprisoned women, undertakes research and advocacy efforts to improve the country's legal and judicial system for the rights of women, and offers a range of community welfare, education, health and emergency relief services. WAT also provides legal aid and similar services for juveniles in Pakistani prison.

 

WAT was established in 1994 by a group of enterprising women who brought food, clothing and basic necessities during their initial visits to the jails.  The organization received a significant boost in January 2000 when WAT's largest benefactors, now Washington-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Muslim Lakhani and his family became the organization's single largest regular donors.

 

WAT is currently registered under the Trust Act of 1882 and is governed by a Board of Trustees. It maintains a head office in Islamabad and branch offices in Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta and Multan. The WAT team includes 21 voluntary office bearers, 35 employed staff that include a team of lawyers and teachers, as well as a pool of 70 dedicated and highly active volunteers.

 

 

The organization is ever-expanding their work. The amount of financing has increased from a modest sum of  20,000 rupees a month in January 2000 to hundreds of thousands of rupees a month at present. The current panel of ten lawyers will be doubled to 20 legal professionals by the end of the year. Additionally, a psychologist will join the staff's anthropologist to further enhance WAT's counseling services to the inmates.

 

WAT also works with young boys up to the age of 15 who are kept in the juvenile prisons. The organization has developed  vocational training program, teaching the inmates plumbing, electrical work, sewing and computer skills. The juveniles are also tutored for a matriculation exam that is taken under the Allama Iqbal Open University program. This program ensures that these juveniles are able to find employment and live regular lives after their prison terms.

 

In 1994, the founders of Women Aid Trust would never have imagined expanding their efforts from supplying food, clothing and small necessities to providing legal, educational and rehabilitative services that would not only help the inmates in jail, but provide them with the means necessary to lead successful and regular lives post-prison. Since Muslim Lakhani and family became the main donors in January 2000, WAT has released over 100 women and children on bail. As Martin Luther once eloquently said, "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." WAT constantly strives to better their efforts to alleviate the suffering of both women and juveniles in Pakistan's prison system.
 

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