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Sikh community bands together to support abuse victims

Valentine’s Day tradition of children’s cards with messages of optimism and motivation continues to raise awareness of violence against women.
One Billion Rising Group is collaborating with Sikh Heritage Manitoba to collect care package products for women in need. These packets include hygiene items and cards from elementary school girls, which the organisation hopes will boost the spirits of women in need.
“From statistics we’ve seen, out of the 3.5 billion women in the world, about one-third of them will experience some sort of abuse, sexual or physical abuse, in their lifetime,” said Gagan Singh, team leader for One Billion Rising.
Singh said studies have shown domestic abuse rates have increased during the pandemic, with people under lockdown measures and isolated.
“This kind of support is needed now more than ever, so we’re stepping in to help out. We’ve been doing this for a number of years, but the support is needed now more than ever,” said Singh.
Despite the challenges of collecting items during the pandemic, Singh said community support for the initiative has been overwhelming.
“The community has really gotten together to kind of help out as well. Kind of matching with some of the empowerment movements coming back from home in Punjab as well has really brought everyone together and putting our best foot forward for any efforts going forward for us.”
The packages are being delivered to women’s centres, where they will be distributed to those who need them.

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