ABU DHABI // Indian women are being urged to air their grievances and seek help from a new forum.
The India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) launched its women's forum to engage all sections of the community - from maids in distress and prisoners to housewives and businesswomen.
Established in cooperation with the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the body will offer shelter to domestic abuse victims and help resolve legal and family disputes.
Indrani Roy, the women's forum convener at the ISC, said: "The forum will reach out to women, particularly maids in distress or those who are in jail for various reasons, and will try to help them.
"I have called the central jail in Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi to find out about Indian women there. In the coming days we will also go there.
"We are in the initial stages, but we will be doing plenty of things for the welfare of the ladies living here."
Joy Thomas John, the honorary president of the ISC, said the forum would help women in need and their families, regardless of their background or problem.
"This is intended to help ladies of all communities in Abu Dhabi - resolving the problems of maids, difficulties of women in jail, helping out children with special needs and doing charity work," she said.
The ISC operates under the patronage of the Indian Embassy and is registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs. The women's forum began operating on May 1. Despite being open for less than a month, it has received positive feedback.
Staff plan to expand their services beyond the Indian community and welcome women from all sections of Abu Dhabi's society and beyond.
"Our plan is also to interact with other communities residing in the UAE and engage them with us for broader cultural and traditional interactions," Ms Roy said.
While a number of women regularly visit the ISC for its entertainment facilities, the forum, which already boasts 200 members, focuses on their grievances.
The ISC's roots date back to the Unity Club, which formed in 1967 to provide social and cultural activities for the Indian community.