History Print

The idea to create an organization to give help to battered women came from mrs. M.A. (Dora) Koolman-Croes, wife of then the Governor of Aruba Mr. Olindo Koolman.
In January 1995 she called a group of people together to brainstorm about this growing problem on our island. Several meetings were held which led to the founding of the organization:


This date was specifically chosen as November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, proclaimed by the United Nations and obsevered worldly since 1981.
Mrs. Koolman-Croes has been honored with the title  “Lady of Protection”  of the foundation.
The Foundation has it’s statutes and is headed by a Board of Directors, consisting of 9 members. In January 1996 the Foundation opened it’s office were professionals give council and offer help to women in need. And when necessary shelter.

The goal of the Foundation is: “ to better the position of the woman on Aruba, to
fight violence in the family, especially against women, and render help in such situations ”.
The Foundation wants to achieve this goal in different ways: by raising awareness, networking for women, promoting new laws and/or changing existing laws; but also by having a shelter for battered women.

Since it’s existence the Foundation (for short FHMD) has organized conferences and seminars to inform the community about violence against women and it’s consequences for the woman and her children. The first was held in March 1996 ; the topic was  “Domestic Violence and Sexual harassment”.
The second in November 1996 on the topic “The role of women in our community”.
The third on November 23rd 2002, with as topic: “Domestic Violence, a concern of the community”.

The 4th in November 2004 on the topic “STOP Violence against women NOW”. Last year, noveember 2007 we held a conference and a seminar, both on the topic “ Violencia domestico.....den wowo! “.

In 1998-’99 the Foundation developed the “Teen Dating Violence Project”, geared to help teenagers in abusive sexual relationships, which was a great success. We trained a number of persons to carry out this project, which has been and is still being used at many schools.
In 1999 the Justice Department together with the Stichting Reclassering and FHMD organized a training project called “Violence Offenders Program”, especially for helping men who beat women and repeat this conduct.

In 2000, with financial help of Cede Aruba, 2 police officers from the Aruba Police Force, participated in a course for the training of police officers in domestic violence called: “Train the Trainers”  in Suriname, organized by CAFRA.
In October 2001, again with financial help of Cede Aruba,10 volunteers from Aruba participated in a seminar on St. Maarten, organized by the Safe Haven Foundation of St. Maarten, called: “Creating a Domestic Violence Awareness Network between the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.”, which was very successful, with participants from all the islands.  (“Safe Haven” is the shelter for battered women on St. Maarten)

One of the goals of our Foundation is operating a Shelter for women who have been victims of battering and/or domestic violence.
In October 1999 the Foundation had the opportunity to buy a building that is perfect for the use as a shelter.  In April 2000 transactions were concluded and this property was turned over in hands of our Foundation.

This house has been made ready for the use as a shelter for battered women on Aruba and is called “Cas Primavera” (“a new beginning”) and is operating since january 2001.
The shelter
The shelter has been in operation since January 2001. It has five roomy rooms, which are completely furnished; each room has it’s own bathroom. Shelter is given on a regular basis to women and their children. Where possible the women are requested to pay  a small amount for their stay and care. Shelter is given for a maximum time of 3 months. During their stay the women are given professional help to solve theirs problems and get them back on their feet as soon as possible.
The shelter is open on a 24 hour basis all year long, holydays included.
Needless to say that the expenses and wear and tear of such a project are quantative. In 2007 the home with financial help op Cede Aruba and a big donor has been completely renovated. An extra room was added, so now the home has 6 rooms to give shelter to women and their children.

What is domestic violence?
The definition of  domestic violence is as follows:
  “any form of physical violence, or threatening with physical violence, by the male
    (or former) partner, as a result of which, against the woman’s will, her physical
    integrity is violated, and/or injury or pain is inflicted on the woman, or
    psychological violence is  applied “.

However at this point, we must make mention of the fact that nowadays battering of the male by his female partner is not uncommon. On Aruba we are now seeing this phenomenah.

Some Statistics.

These are the number of new clients  for each year that were handled                                                     
by the social workers:                         Placement in the shelter:         Number of children:
      -     2009:  86                                       2009:    22                                  2009:   32  
      -     2008:  93                                       2008:    11                                  2008:   13
      -     2007:  110                                      2007:    7                                   2007:    8
      -     2006:  101                                      2006:    12                                 2006:    16
- 2005 : 157                                      2005:    28                                 2005:     30
- 2004 : 154                                      2004:    21                                 2004:     44  
      -     2003 : 159                                      2003:    21                                 2003:     33
      -     2002 : 161                                      2002:    21                                 2002:     27
      -     2001:  135                                      2001:    14                                 2001:     22

  Women who stayed in the shelter are in the ages between 21 and 60 years. The women   
  can be married, single, living with a partner or widowed. The women are from all over
  the globe: Latin America, the Caribbean islands, USA, Canada, Europe.  In 2005 we
  gave shelter to 1 male person.
  Ages of the children are from newborn babies to girls up to their mayority of age and
  boys up to 16 years.

  In 2005 our foundation received the very prestigeous award from Holland, the “Appeltje van Oranje”, together with a money prize.

Financial situation.
From the government of Aruba FHMD receives a subsidy in the amount of Afls. 40.000.00 for costs and expenses; this has now for 2008 been cut with 10%. We receive  subsidy for 2 professional social workers. All other personnel, being 5 people working in the chilter and 1 guard, are on our own account.
The foundation organizes yearly fundraising activities to raise the necessary money for our operations. In 2000 we raffled a car (Yaris). In 2001 we organized a “ Share Care” project, where businesses and individuals could sponsor a week’s stay for a woman in the shelter for the amount of Afls. 500,00 (total costs, all included, also counseling).
Besides this our Foundation receives regularly small and big donations from local and international organizations. Thanks to these donations together with our fund raising activities, expenses can be met and covered.

For big projects, such as construction of our office, putting up a complete new  wall around the premises, and last year renovating the shelter, we received (on our request) subsidy from Cede Aruba to do these project. Yearly we receive small and big donations from organizations, the service clubs and funds in Holland. These donations are very much welcomed as the expenses for the shelter is very costly.

The Board consists of the following persons:
president            : mrs. J. I. (Yvonne) Spellen
vice president    : mrs. H.A. Chapman-Cham
secretary            : mrs. M. Vrolijk-Winklaar
treasurer            :  mrs. D. L. Werleman-de Kort
member             : mrs. D. Booi-Staring, asst. treasurer
member             : mrs. F.E. Tjon Ajong
member             : mrs. A. T. Muller
member             : mrs. S.J.B. Torres
member             :  mrs. Suzette de L’Isle

Address of the Foundation is: Primavera  1-B,
                                                 telf.(297) 583 4500  -  Fax: (297) 582 5532
                                                 Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it