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Syrian women refugees struggling to survive on their own

9-7-2014

UNHCR released yesterday a report entitled “Woman Alone: The Fight for Survival by Syria’s Refugee Women”, which shed light on the daily struggles of displaced Syrian women in order to secure basic needs for their families. The report said that more than 145 thousand Syrian families that fled to Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, which represents 1 out of 5 families, are headed by women who have to face alone the suffering of displacement. These women are now the primary caretaker and breadwinner of their families in the absence of their husbands and of traditional community support systems. Alone, these women are exposed to exploitation and blackmailing almost everywhere, at their residencies, at the work place, in aid distribution centers and in public transportation.
The report gave the following estimates for the numbers of displaced Syrian women heading their families: 13,911 women in Egypt, 57,421 women in Jordan, and 7,267 women in Iraq. In Lebanon, which has the largest population of Syrian refugees, the total number of women responsible for their families reaches 70,189 women.
According to the same report, and though there is in Lebanon more than 150 associations active in providing different services to displaced Syrian women and their families, severe livelihoods conditions have forced some of these women to depend on themselves and to find solutions to their daily problems. The outcome is that many have now acquired a sense of autonomy and empowerment, having taken over non-traditional roles as main providers to their families. The report reveals that only one out of 5 women works for a salary, one other out of 5 women is supported by relatives, while some depend for their survival on members of the hosting community, such as landlords that allow these women to reside in houses for free. The report adds that many women are forced to send their children to work in unfair circumstances, while only 25% actually receive financial aid from the UNHCR or other humanitarian organizations. It is to be noted that the launch event of the new UNHCR report included a the showing of a documentary film which narrates the story of Lina, a Syrian displaced woman, living in Lebanon with her children. To watch the film please click on the following link: Lina’s Story

Source: Al-Safir, Al-Hayat, Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, The Daily Star 9 July 2014

To read the full report in English, please click on the following link: Woman Alone: The Fight for Survival by Syria’s Refugee Women

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