Learning about financial matters like saving, budgeting and business building opens up opportunities for women who have experienced domestic violence to have more of a voice in their home and communities. The Anglican Sisters at the Christian Care Centre are reaching those who need it most.
In recent years Anglican Overseas Aid began working more closely with the Christian Care Centre (CCC) in Guadalcanal province, Solomon Islands as a part of our Safe, Strong Communities program. The CCC is an important refuge for women, as one of only a few places women can go to receive shelter and support in situations of domestic violence in the Solomon Islands. It is owned and run by our partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), with Anglican Sisters managing and delivering the services and programs.
At the Anglican Sisters’ request, Anglican Overseas Aid worked with ACOM to deliver training to the Sisters so that they can teach the women that come to them for more help about financial literacy. Teaching vulnerable women that come to them for refuge skills like saving money and avoiding financial challenges helps give them more independence and control over their lives and equips them to take care of their family and children. Money skills also help them navigate stressful financial situations at home that impact their relationships.
The Sisters take the new learning from the financial literacy training and talk to the women about money and finances during their ongoing existing activities with the women, including handicrafts and vocational sessions. The skills they learn teach them how to identify financial problems, budget, set achievable goals and saving plans, and give them insight into opportunities to earn money.
During their time at the Christian Care Centre, the survivors open up, giving the Sisters the opportunity to talk to them about their relationships and home life. The opportunity to counsel the survivors in their time at the Centre is invaluable. To help them with this, the Sisters who attended the financial literacy training also attended Gender Equality Theology (GET) training. This training about gender relations from a Christian-values-based perspective allows the Sisters to talk to the women in a way that they will understand and engage with.
While sometimes it can be hard for both the Sisters and the survivors to accept any re-interpretation of the Bible and theology, the women’s views and outlook soften and change, which ultimately rebuilds confidence in both themselves and humanity. The training is an important part of addressing the underlying causes of gender-based violence and the traditional ideas that contribute to the harm the survivors have experienced.
With these trainings, however, the Anglican Sisters are encouraged that they are able to positively influence the women and give them the skills they need to rebuild their lives when they leave the CCC.