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A Safe Space for a New Start

After a turbulent year of war and forced displacement, Hana*, a brave Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivor, found a new opportunity in one of the UNFPA-supported safe spaces for Syrian refugees living in Egypt.

When Hana first came to the safe space, she was severely depressed and confided in the social worker that she struggled with frequent suicidal thoughts.  One year earlier, when Hana was still living in Syria amid the ongoing armed conflict, she was brutally raped and had to flee the country with her family to escape the woes of war. 

After arriving to Egypt, her plight was far from over, as she experienced sexual harassment and abuse, in addition to finding several challenges to adapt to in her new life. UNFPA-supported safe space, however, helped restore a sense of normalcy for Hana.

Through one-on-one counselling with the psychologist and the visiting psychiatrist, the suicidal tendencies eventually went away and Hana was able to take her first steps towards a new start. Hana’s integration was rapidly progressing as she joined the group therapy sessions where she listened to other GBV survivors sharing their own stories and experiences with GBV and settling into a new country. The group therapy sessions helped Hana cope and eased her sense of alienation.

At the same time, Hana was encouraged to join the crochet classes held at the safe space which helped her gain confidence and self-efficacy. It was also a way to generate modest income which helped her support her children. This programme is funded by the generous contribution of the European Union and the government of Denmark.

*Name changed