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Laila's Journey to Independence and Empowerment

Before 2013, now 28-year-old Laila lived a simple life in Syria with her husband and two children, but one day, her husband went missing in the war and there were no options for her but to flee to Jordan with her children. There, she resided at Zaatari camp along with her two children, parents and eight siblings in a confined prefab called “caravan”.

With little to no privacy, Laila felt distressed, but that’s not all, one of her brothers became abusive and controlling of her every move, not allowing her to live in a caravan of her own with her kids on the pretext of being “overprotective”. Her neighbor referred her to a gender-based violence (GBV) counselor at the one of UNFPA- supported Women and Girls Safe Spaces run by IFH/ Noor Al Hussein Foundation. Upon assessing her case, the psychosocial counselor suggested a safety plan that helped stopping her abusive brother. To alleviate her stress and anxiety Laila signed up in a support group that gradually boosted her self-confidence and made her stronger.

 

Moreover, with the counselor's support she applied to UNHCR for a separate caravan and was granted to her later on. Things also started to look different when she got a job as an incentive- based volunteer. This made her financially independent and more secure.

 

Out of all the much needed items that I received, I am especially glad to receive a new towel! Mine got damaged from frequent usage, I didn’t have enough money to buy a new one, because I prioritized other household items

Laila, 28-year-old living in Zaatari

 

Last July a wide Dignity Kit (comprising intimate pieces and personal hygiene items) distribution took place in the camp, and Laila was among the selected women to receive it since she is a female head of household. The kit was very useful to her, especially during the time of COVID-19; as most of the people were out of jobs and didn’t have money to buy the bare necessities. “Out of all the much needed items that I received, I am especially glad to receive a new towel! Mine got damaged from frequent usage, I didn’t have enough money to buy a new one, because I prioritized other household items“, said Laila. “Since arriving to Jordan, this is the first time I received such a comprehensive kit” Laila added with tears in her eyes. The dignity kit is specifically designed to cater to women’s needs for personal hygiene, like pads, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, hand sanitizers cleaning detergents, underwear & hijab. The kit also included a prepaid mobile card that came in at the right time to stay connected to her friends and her counselor due to COVID-19 restrictions. Also, among the items were a self powered torch , which is very handy particularly when you are walking the alleyways of the camp at night, and a flyer with useful hotlines, names and contacts numbers that she shared with her friends. “I can’t thank you enough”, Laila concluded.

 

UNFPA Jordan distributed 1000 dignity kits at the Institute for Family Health in Zaatari camp. Beneficiaries were grateful and felt fortunate to receive such essential items that preserve dignity, namely during the time of the pandemic.