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During a visit to Pittsburgh on 10th October 2008 Mrs. Silvia Gašparovičová visited the Women’s Center and the Shelter for Pittsburgh and Environs – WC&S. The shelter helps since 1974 those who are victims of domestic violence. According to Mrs. Gašparovičová violence against women is a global problem. "I am very glad that I could visit this centre. With problems such as violence against women, we deal in almost all countries. Also I through my foundation Education and Health for Everybody I´m trying to help those who are victims of violence through the project ´Life without violence – Aid to women-victims of domestic violence´. We try to bring these women to stand on their own feets even though their experience."
Mrs. Silvia Gašparovičová was also interested in by whom and how the shelter is financed. As the director Shirl Regan said, the largest amount in the budget of the shelter is the support from the government, then the contributions from NGOs and extracts from events organized by this center. Refuge can here for 30 days find almost every woman who is grappling with abuse. The centre has a continuous 24-hour telephone line, which is a kind of first contact. As the director of the shelter Shirl Regan says, "we offer everything for free. There are women who are in different financial situation. Some have jobs, some don´t. Every woman who comes here has aso called ´case manager´ who tries to help the victim either to find a job or in divorce proceedings." Interestingly, the shelter cooperates very closely with the police.
After the shelter visit reviewed the First Lady together with her husband President Ivan Gašparovič historical facilities of the Pittsburgh University. At this university a permanent program in the Slovak Slavic Department is offered, where students can learn the Slovak language. Mrs. Silvia Gašparovičová informed the Pittsburgh University rector Mark Nordenberg about her education activities. First Lady on the basis of knowledge from abroad initiated the establishment of a virtual university in Slovakia. At the University ofEconomics in Bratislava will start from the school year 2009-2010 on a preliminary study of public administration and regional development in the external form. Through the internet thus a wider availability of external studying people in remote regions of Slovakia and handicapped is provided. Rector of the Pittsburgh University was amazed by this breakout initiative in education and called for closer cooperation in this field.
Then the presidential couple was eagerly expected by compatriots. In Pittsburgh is the largest group of foreign Slovaks living. Honorary Consul’s wife Mrs. Albina Senko gave Mrs. Silvia Gašparovičová a check for 200,- USD for projects of the First Lady´s Foundation. This money, as Mrs. Gašparovičová said, will go to help those who need it most.