Update 3 January 2019 – THANK YOU!!!
On 3 January 2019 we took all of your donations to the shelter. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed. We received more than 30 bags of personal items for the women in the shelter and around 15 boxes of household goods to help them to get set up when they leave the shelter to live independently.
We also received some extra items like a cot, a baby gym, a baby carrier, bedding, towels and even a box of jewelry. The shelter managers who received the delivery were amazed and delighted at your generosity.
One kind person, Ellen Christiaanse, even offered the women a night in her wonderful casa rural which is incredibly generous. Another person, who is a jeweler, has offered to do a jewelery workshop for the women in the shelter.
When I wrote the original article I had no idea that the response would be so overwhelming, so I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their support and contributions. I think I will try to make this an annual appeal, perhaps with a different charity each year – watch this space!
Here’s the original campaign article:
We all know Christmas can be a stressful time, but for women who experience male violence it can become a crisis point. Can you help a woman fleeing male violence this Christmas?
What can you do?
This Christmas Barcelona Family Life is asking you add one more gift to your Christmas list – a bag or a box – to be donated to a woman who is staying at the Casa d’Acolliment per Violència Masclista (shelter for victims of male violence CA-VM) in Barcelona.
The idea is that you put together either a handbag or a small box of items that would be useful to a woman staying at the shelter and drop it off at a collection point before Christmas. It’s easy and cheap to do and you would be helping to make the life of a woman in need a little less difficult – all the details about exactly how to contribute are below. Your bag or box will be given to a woman either while she’s staying at the shelter, or when she’s moving out to start her new life.
What is the CA-VM?
The CA-VM is a long-stay residential shelter service for women and their children fleeing male violence. It is run by the Consorci de Serveis Socials de Barcelona (Social Services Department) and funded by the Ajuntament (City Council). It has 27 places where women and their children can stay, usually for around six months to a year, while piecing together a new life free from violence for themselves and their children. In 2018 shelter has helped 21 women and 26 children re-build their lives.
Violence against women is a scourge of all human societies around the world – it happens to women of all cultures and classes and ages. Some readers may have experienced it personally or have seen it happen to family and friends. Official statistics from the Ajuntament de Barcelona say that 37% of women aged 15 or over living in Barcelona have experienced some form of violence by a partner or ex-partner, and an average of four women are murdered every year in the city. Christmas can often be a particularly busy time for women’s shelters as family conflicts boil over into violence. The work done by CA-VM is vital and they would really appreciate your support.
Why a bag or a box?
The centre supplies residents with everyday toiletries and basic items while they are staying in the shelter, but they tell me there are two categories of items that the women would find particularly useful:
Firstly, a bag of small personal items which are practically useful and help to lift the spirits at a difficult time. Things like slippers, calendars and agendas, notebooks, pens, books, accessories like sunglasses and belts, moisturiser, perfume, hairbrushes or even make up.
And secondly, a box containing household items that would be useful when the women leave the shelter to live independently, such as plates, glasses, cutlery, cooking utensils, tea towels, photo frames, umbrellas, blankets and towels.
This is how we came up with the idea of a handbag for the personal items or a box for household items.
How to donate a bag or box:
Put together either a handbag or a box (or both!) containing some of the items listed above, and feel free to add other things you think would be useful within those two categories. Second-hand things are fine as long as they are clean and in good condition. Moisturisers and make up etc should be new, and please don’t include anything perishable like food.
It really doesn’t have to be expensive: Unwanted gifts, a book you’ve read, and a few little things you can pick up from the supermarket or local multi-objects shop will do nicely.
To give you an idea, I dug out a handbag I no longer use and filled it with the following: an umbrella, a scarf, a pair of sunglasses, a belt (all second hand); a few little toiletries and make up items from a local shop’s bargain bin; a 2019 diary, notebook, pens, a nail kit and mini brush/mirror from Tiger. I’m also going to add a book but I forgot to put it in the photo:
And here’s a box of household stuff, made up of some extra things I had plus a few things I picked up very cheaply from Tiger:
Where should you take your donation?
Option 1: You can drop it at my place in Gracia near Metro Joanic – contact me via the Barcelona Family Life Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.
Option 2: If anyone would like run a collection point in their area, please let me know!
Many thanks in advance for anything you are able to donate. I’ll do a follow up post in the new year let you know how many bags and boxes we were able to collect.