In the last five years, many Syrian women went through critical circumstances with the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011, followed by the armed conflict that was imposed on the people by the Syrian regime, and the presence of regional and international forces.
N.B: The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect CIDSE’s official positions.
The Arabic version of this article is available in the attachment below.
Many women lost a member or more of their families, their houses, their jobs, had to give up their studies, and were forced to leave their homes to flee to new places and countries, where they had to deal with foreign languages that they did not speak, and new laws that they did not know anything about.
This new situation, in addition to memories burdened with losses and war pains, resulted in a state of frustration for many women. These women are trying to get back their normal life now, but they are doing so very carefully and very slowly. Some other women were able to get back to their normal lifestyle faster, and were able to work and reach some achievements, thanks to their personal skills, experiences or extraordinary willpower.
While I was preparing for a multicultural program for Radio Blau in Leipzig in Germany, which broadcasts Arabic content with segments in German and English, I had the idea of allocating half or one hour of the program to talk about Syrian and Arab women’s issues in Europe. The main idea is to review the problems they face and how they deal with them and overcome them, through their own personal experiences. I also wanted the program to provide women with basic information about the laws and constitutions of the countries they live in now, and the rights they have according to these laws.
Our program is called “Hunna”, which is the female plural personal pronoun in Arabic. Every week, we host a Syrian or Arabic woman who lives in Europe and has achieved something in regards to education, work, integration or voluntary services. The guests share their experiences and the difficulties they faced with the program’s audience and explain how they were able to be positive and creative in spite of all the bad circumstances.
The main goal of the program is to inspire women by other women. As well as to review positive experiences that consolidate women’s self-confidence, and the ways of taking advantage of the laws and new possibilities that life has to offer in the new societies. Our program has very good interaction and comments from the audience. Every week, we receive many messages with comments or suggestions of topics that women in exile are interested in. Within the previous episodes we had guests who shared their experiences in many fields, including: integration, education, music, literature, psychological support, social and cultural activities, journalism and art.
One of our guests was a young Syrian woman who holds a scholarship from Heidelberg University and is the creator of a very active Facebook group that helps Syrian women finding answers for their questions concerning living and studying in Germany. She runs the group together with more than ten other young Syrian women who have experience in different academic fields. During our interview she explained how she got her scholarship and gave insight into the services provided by her Facebook group.
We also once interviewed a Syrian musician who studies music at Leipzig University. She talked about her study experience in Germany and the music events she creates to introduce Syrian music and culture to the world and to remind of the Syrian revolution.
Another guest was a psychotherapist who was working with women and children back in Syria. Now after less than a year since she arrived in Germany she is again working with children and women refugees, because she believes that they are the one most in need of psychological support after the war.
Finally, one of our most interesting guests was a Syrian journalist who is very active in the women’s rights field and is working for a Syrian pioneer women magazine. She talked about her life and work experience in Germany and the activities that the magazine undertakes in Germany. One of them being to provide refugee women with training in journalistic writing skills to enable them to tell their stories and express their opinions.
We value this unique space of exchange thanks to which women can build on each others’ tips and experiences, and we are keen to build an even larger community. People can interact with the program on Facebook and download the podcast on Mixcloud.