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Sameera

Photo: Aidan O'Neil

Sameera

When war broke out in her country, Sameera and her family had no choice but to flee.

War took everything from us, including my home and my husband’s job. With six children, life became difficult. Horrible. I often sat at home with nothing to do, living with depression. I felt helpless and hopeless.

Frequent fights with my husband made my life worse. Life for our family also worsened as we had no steady access to shelter or food, so we fled to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and settled in a refugee camp. There, I experienced constant anger, deeper depression, and stress.

My friends in the camp encouraged me to join the Women for Women International training programme. At first, I was hesitant, but ultimately, because of our situation, I decided to join.

Session after session, I realised how important the training is.

I saw its value and how women in the programme were able to grow out of the depression they’d been living in. Interacting with other women made my life easier and helped me find calm. I realised I am not the only one dealing with difficulties.

The Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme helped me get out of the house, get outside, and see what other refugee women experience.

The friendly environment at the training centre and connections I made with other women changed my life.

I’m able to manage my anger and stress by asking for support from my trainers. The stipend helps me buy food for my family and save.

Through the training, I have learned good sewing skills, and my plan after graduation is to work as a tailor for my family and my community. I’m thankful to Women for Women International for providing a programme like this for refugees. I wrote a letter to my sponsor, and it made me happy to know that women across the world care about me.

For reasons of security and privacy, we are using a photo of a different Women for Women International graduate to represent the woman in the story.

Sewing course at Sulaymaniyah Warvin Center in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Photo: Emily Kinsey
Sewing course at Sulaymaniyah Warvin Center in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Photo: Emily Kinsey

OUR WORK IN IRAQ

Since 2015, Women for Women International has been working with local organisations in Iraq to support Syrian refugee and Yezidi women who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war and conflict.

In 2017, we opened a Women for Women International office and enrolled the first 300 women to begin our year-long social and economic empowerment training programme.