<\body> Stories in America: Recovering From Liberia's War & Pakistan's Earthquake

Friday, October 28, 2005

Recovering From Liberia's War & Pakistan's Earthquake

Liberia's ex-female fighters don’t want to carry gun again - Pravda
A Woman's hands that once cradled an AK-47 now caress an infant son and hem pants. Two years since Liberia's 14 years of horror ended, some 20,000 female fighters, a fifth of all ex-combatants, have been demobilized and, like 34-year old Oretha Davis, are now being trained to re-enter society. The country's future may hinge on whether they succeed. "I lost my head in that war," Davis said, looking at four-month-old Roland nestled in her lap. "That AK was heavier than my baby. I don't want to carry a gun again," she said, as dozens of other ex-female fighters hunch over sewing machines, training for a new trade. "Now I just want this baby, and to learn." Davis and dozens of other young women spend their days in classes down a potholed road in a poor neighborhood of Liberia's battle-shattered capital, Monrovia. They earn US$30 (24.88) a month during training.

Quake leaves Pakistani women traumatised, vulnerable - Reuters
Women left without family are among the most vulnerable victims of the earthquake that struck northern Pakistan on Oct. 8, killing more than 54,000 people. "They could get pushed into prostitution, forced to beg and there is also a danger of trafficking," said Naeem Mirza from the Aurat Foundation, a local NGO fighting for the rights of women. The U.S. State Department's country report last year outlined the seriousness of the problem in Pakistan, where women from rural areas are trafficked to the country's cities and the Middle East to work as prostitutes or domestic servants. "Every year thousands of Pakistanis are trafficked," said Ansar Burney, a Pakistani human rights activist and chairman of a group that campaigns against trafficking. The government says it will help widows and orphans. But Mirza said any notions of making these women economically independent was wishful thinking.


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