Now I am Starting to Breathe

Mrs. M was born in Qamishli in 1982. She’s divorced with three children__ two daughters and a son__ and lives with her parents and siblings in Corniche neighborhood in Qamishli. When Mrs. M attended Hear my Heart activities at Beit Alkell center in Qamishli, and through the Zahharat Baraami activity that revolved around how a mother should handle teenagers, she talked about her daughters and wept. When asked about what made her cry, she said:” I am far away from my kids because I divorced their father. I couldn’t live with him anymore and tolerate all his mental and physical abuse. The only reason I tolerated it a first was because of my children, so that people wouldn’t start talking and say they have a divorced mother. What made me incapable of putting up with him was the fact that my children became affected of seeing their mom beaten up… it just suffocated me!”

From talking to Mrs. M, it was apparent that she suffered from community pressure because of the prevailing view of divorce, especially that she got divorced after fifteen years of marriage. “People are merciless! They keep telling me I should have stayed with my husband for the sake of my children’s reputation. What’s putting me even more down is the fact that I became dependent on my family and without any independent revenue I can spend on myself”, expressed Mrs. M.

She was referred to the GBV programme, and said through the sessions that she tried to commit suicide because she was deprived of her children. She was also subjected to violence from her mother, who refused to receive her children as she considers them to carry their father’s name and are thus for him alone.

And so, she was guided to ask for her rights from her mother, so that she could bring her daughters and be treated right. After her needs were assessed, it was clear that she needed psychological support.

Consequently, she was referred to the Psychological Support programme, and was followed-up by a specialist who worked on her self-acceptance and self-confidence.

Also, after the GBV case manager followed up on her, she found that Mrs. M suffered from poverty and inability to provide for herself and her children. For that reason, she was enrolled in the Small Business Grants programme and got the approval of her project__ a small library__ in the neighborhood she resides in. this project helped her become an independent woman. It also empowered her, as she started fighting for her right to see her children, and brought them presents from her library once she saw them. “I don’t need anyone’s help anymore. I was able to buy my children clothes for Eid from the project’s revenue. I was overwhelmed when I saw the joy in their eyes when they visited me at my library, and I gave them stationary as a gift for them to go to school. My children are a piece of me, and I have every right to see them and hold them tight”, said Mrs. M.

And through I am More Beautiful activity, which includes one’s self-perception and confidence in his potential, Mrs. M recounted her entire story to all the women. She told them about how she used to feel__ weak and chained__ and how she felt after SSSD helped her__ more beautiful and stronger. She was proud of herself for being proud of her dignity, and screamed from the top pf her lungs:” Now I am starting to breathe…”