Helping Domestic Abuse Survivors Succeed after Prison in Central Asia

By Natalie Sarrett

A women’s prison in Central Asia is full of inmates who are survivors of domestic abuse and, as a result, have all killed their husbands in self-defense.

These women have been given sentences that also imprison their children until they come of age or until their mothers are released.

These mothers publicly shamed and ostracized from their communities and forced to raise a family in a dirty, overcrowded cell.

Many women have never had the opportunity to make decisions for themselves or to build skillsets that will help them in the job market once they have fulfilled their sentences.

Grief, self-harm and guilt run rampant.

Send Relief has built a program to meet the needs of these women and their children.

Now, every six weeks, volunteers distribute hygiene kits, jackets and warm socks, space heaters, food and diapers to 100 inmates. Facilitators are also hosting literacy lessons, financial wellness courses, birthing classes, and craft and book clubs for mothers. Children are offered preschool and daycare where they learn fine motor skills, basic language and phonics and other skills they will need to thrive once they leave the prison.

One core facilitator shared about the program, “These women now have a safe place to talk or just to be. They’re able to read and write, learn basic health and hygiene lessons they’ve not been exposed to before and hopefully, this will help not just themselves but also their families and neighbors. They’re encouraged to start learning to make decisions for themselves, even if it’s small like what color to use when coloring. We take turns going in, trying to be a light who can pray and share personal stories when connecting moments arise.”

Today, many women are becoming prolific writers and learning important social skills like reconciling after arguments and engaging in healthy conflict.

In this region, it’s hard to find a more marginalized or discriminated-against population, and we are grateful for your support in serving these women as they venture out into the world alone for the first time. Pray that Send Relief would continue to find favor from the government and that God would do a great work in the hearts of the prison guards.


Published January 23, 2023

Natalie Sarrett

Natalie Sarrett is a staff writer for Send Relief.