Dwa Fanm

Award Recipients - 2001

Farah Tanis, Co-Founder and Director


Farah Tanis co-founded Dwa Fanm in 1999 “to eradicate all forms of discrimination, injustice and violence against Haitian women and girls.”   Dwa Fanm, “which means women’s rights’ in Haitian Creole pursues its objectives through educational campaigns, advocacy, leadership development, community organizing, public events and media.   
Dwa Fanm focuses on domestic violence.  Volunteers distribute culturally and linguistically appropriate information, dispelling myths and recognizing it as a human rights violation.  A workshop series educates women about legal rights and sexually transmitted diseases and trains survivors as peer educators.  It also makes referrals to counseling, medical and legal services, housing ESL and job training.  Dwa Fanm organized the first domestic violence forum in the Haitian community and launched the first women’s rights radio and television information campaign.  An advisory board of violence survivors persuaded family court officials to authorize translation of documents such as child support papers and protection orders into the Creole language.  
Dwa Fanm is developing another project to raise awareness about the centuries old tradition where girls working as domestic in private households are turned into slaves.  The Haitian government estimates 300,000 “restaveks” in Haiti today, and Dwa Fanm will document the extent of practice in New York City.

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