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Through her eyes: A painful journey and quest for self-resilience


Through her eyes: A painful journey and quest for self-resilience


Nursing sessions for women & young girls are supported by UNFPA in Homs




 “Maybe from society’s perspective, I am a cruel woman, who has given up on her husband and family, but I only wanted to live with respect, and I will never allow my children to suffer from the violence that I suffered from for a long time,” said 41 years old Mariam*, who is one of UNFPA-supported women’s and girls’ safe spaces’ (WGSS) beneficiaries in Homs.


Mariam lost her mother at the age of three, she was exposed to physical and psychological violence by her step mother, who lived with them for 10 years. At the age of 13, Mariam was forced to marry her husband. During her marriage, Maryam was raped by her relative and her husband’s relative.


During her marriage, Mariam gave birth to 8 children, and during the crisis in Syria, she lost a son and a daughter. After the death of two of her children, Maryam felt that she had nothing to lose, she decided to leave her husband, face her society which often came with stigma, and transformed herself to regain her independence. It was then that she decided to visit the UNFPA-supported WGSS. Mariam’s main focus was to move on with her life along with her children, aiming to keep them away from violence and abuse.


The psychosocial support counselor in WGSS, which is operated by UNFPA’s implementing partner, Syrian Family Planning Association (SFPA) in Homs, followed up on Mariam’s case for three months and then helped her register in two vocational training courses in the WGSS; Cooking and Nursing. “The vocational training completely changed my life,” she said.


Mariam’s career and economic independence started after she had graduated from the two courses. She has been working as a nurse in the morning, investing in the skills she has learned, and in the afternoon, she has been working in the food industry. Having been able to generate her own income, Marian has been able to economically rely on herself and gained the independence she has always aspired to have. Mariam was able to rent a house for her and her children away from her abusers. “I am surprised by the rapid and positive change that has occurred in Mariam’s life as well as that of her children,” the WGSS psychosocial support counsellor stated.


UNFPA’s WGSS provide a place where women and girls feel physically and emotionally safe, with the absence of trauma, excessive stress, violence (or fear of violence), or abuse. It is a space where women and girls, being the intended beneficiaries, feel comfortable and enjoy the freedom to express themselves without the fear of judgment or harm, while also gaining skills through various types of vocational trainings and receive GBV information and psychosocial support to help build their resilience.