Swiss pioneer shelter for newly separated husbands

Thu Sep 9, 2010 9:42am EDT
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By Barbara Prevel

GENEVA (Reuters Life!) - A trickle of newly separated Swiss fathers looking for shelter and help after marital breakdown have been finding a warm bed and a sympathetic ear from a pilot project on the shores of Lake Zurich.

Protestant pastor Andreas Cabalzar has founded Switzerland's first shelter for newly separated fathers in the Swiss village of Erlenbach, not far from Geneva.

Unique in Switzerland, the project has seen the numbers of applications to stay in the house increasing every week.

"80 percent of the time it is the wife asking for a divorce and the children stay in the family home while the father leaves with his suitcases and becomes more vulnerable," Cabalzar told Reuters.

The project began in September 2009 when four men visited Cabalzar to ask for help after separating from their wives. After leaving home, the men initially needed temporary shelter and a place to reflect on their situations.

"At the first moment everybody needs a roof and a bed and no man is prepared for this step," Cabalzar told Reuters.

He said the problem pervades all sections of society and that he sees men from all walks of life hit by the problem.

"In such a reality people are suffering," he said.   Continued...