Empowering Syrian Refugee Women: a new challenge in a new home
“Now I want to help myself… our parents didn’t try to educate us.
Now I can learn and support myself and be independent.
I wanted to be educated. Now I’m happy with myself.
It makes me feel alive.”
These are the words from a Syrian woman living in Lebanon. She, along with many others, found herself alone in a new environment without an education, family nor support.
After seven years of conflict, many Syrian men have either been killed, injured or displaced. This has led to a shift in household dynamics with women being the sole provider in one in three households. This difficult transition occurs at the very moment when they need time and space to grieve the loss of their family, friends, and home.
In response to this, SB OverSeas set up empowerment programs with the holistic aim of helping the women economically, socially and psychologically. We wanted not only to economically empower the women, but also to equip them with the skills needed to adjust to their new lives. In our centres, we offer vocational and educational training with the aim of alleviating the women’s’ financial situation through facilitating access to the labour market and promoting entrepreneurship. This is done by providing a number of vocational courses including sewing, knitting and language courses. The products created are sold at exhibitions organised by SB OverSeas.
Additionally, we support the women through offering psycho-social support. We offer a safe space for conversation, thus helping to create a network of mutual support which is key to building stronger communities. For mothers, we provide (in partnership with Save the Children) a kindergarten service in our Bukhra Ahla centre so they can partake in activities.
‘When I started SB OverSeas my dream was to help as many women as possible without giving them the feeling that they are weak and in need of help. I wanted them to live independently and be educated. This dream became reality and we were able to give thousands of women the chance to learn and become independent, and fight for their rights.’
–Louma Albik, founder and chairperson of SB OverSeas
We are working to empower the women in conflict to grant them the tools to be active survivors and builders of the community, rather than passive victims. With our three centres, we have provided this help to over 4000 women from refugee communities in Lebanon.