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A Breath of Hope

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Hayat, 39, is married, with five children. Her husband is a professional carpenter, a family trade he inherited from his father. He used to own a large carpentry workshop equipped with all the necessary tools but lost all his productive assets due to the Syrian conflict and the precipitous displacement from Saqba, where his trade was established.
The family first moved to Buquein, where they stayed for twelve months, then relocated in Jaramana, where they are living now in a small rented house.
By a happy combination of circumstances, Hayat began to frequent the SSSD Community Center in Jaramana and attend women’s sessions and awareness campaigns on gender-based violence. During one session, she reported being subjected to intimate partner violence and, at her request, was referred to the GBV case manager.
During the meeting with Hayat, she talked about her family’s prosperous situation before the displacement and the good relation she used to have with her husband. After their displacement from Saqba, however, their life changed completely.
At some point, to earn a living, Hayat’s husband tried to sell vegetables. For that, he had sometimes to be absent from home for several days while she stayed with the children at home. Soon enough, the disputes began between the spouses because he let himself be influenced by people’s gossip, in addition to the impact of the family’s deteriorated material situation. He began to mistrust his wife, accusing her of misconduct and continually abusing her. Naturally, the children were the first to suffer from their parents’ altercations.
Hayat said that she suffered from continuous stress and inability to communicate with her husband and make decisions. Consequently, she was referred to a SSSD psychologist who worked with her on the following lines:
1. Seeing clearly into her problem and make a decision about her marriage: Does she want to stay with her husband or end her marital relationship?
2. Learning relaxation exercises.
3. Training in good communication methods (NVC).
4. Setting a network of social relations by participating in group PSS meetings.
The husband was also gradually attracted to the community center and involved in its activities. The couple actively participated in a blood donation for Thalassemia children, which had an obvious positive influence on his subsequent responsiveness.
Concomitantly, through coordination with the SSSD Livelihood Services, Hayat’s husband was referred to the Livelihood Toolkit Program to help him get a full carpentry toolkit with the aim of providing a decent income to the family and alleviate the material burden. Later on, the man appeared before the special committee at the Jaramana Community Center and obtained the toolkit.
Unfailingly, these interventions had a positive impact on the family. Their relations improved and signs of recovered dignity and prosperity began to show on them all.
As the couple grew to genuinely trust the SSSD team, they agreed that their daughter, who had really endured her parents’ differences, should be referred to the Child Protection Program. A psychologist worked with her for a while and recommended her participating in recreational and informal education activities and establishing new relationships with peers.
“Never in my life shall I forget what my family and I went through during the last period,” said Hayat’s husband about the drastic change taking place in their life. “I was without work, completely lost without my work tools. But now I’m picking up and moving for a fresh start.”
“You gave me back my life. I lived in darkness and it is as if SSSD suddenly turned on the light!” said Hayat, telling of the change in her husband’s behavior towards her and their children.
“I would advise every woman who has been subjected to violence of any sort to go to the Center and learn how to deal with her husband and family issues. The Center helped me solve my problems and deal with my husband wisely and lovingly,” she added.
Hayat became a member of the Women’s Committees and is very active therein. She participates in all SSSD awareness campaigns and encourages women to take their life in their hands and assume their role in community seriously.
“Every woman has the right to live in dignity. Every human being encounters challenges throughout one’s life. Particularly during a national crisis like Syria’s. But we needn’t lose that breath of hope in life,” she wisely concluded.