Safe Homes: Women reclaiming their dignity

November 22, 2023
Share on

Women survivors of violence are seeing light at the end of the tunnel through the project “Improving access to gender-sensitive prevention and protection services for vulnerable communities in Jordan,” implemented by AECID. This project is funded by the European Union Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis – the Madad and is only part of the many activities in support of Syrians and all vulnerable populations affected by the Syrian crisis in the bordering countries. 

The project’s objectives are clear: to enhance access to gender-sensitive prevention and protection services. From legal and medical assistance to psychological support, the initiative seeks to provide a comprehensive network of resources for survivors. Beyond direct support, the project also invests in strengthening the capacities of national actors. By empowering local and central entities, the goal is to create a sustainable framework for delivering Gender Based Violence prevention and response services.

Central to the project is the “Safe Homes” initiative, consisting of the provision of safe homes and shelters, as provided in 3 locations by AECID’s local partner “SOS Children Village”. 

From darkness to light: S.K.’s journey with Safe Homes

S.K is one of these resilient survivors whose life took a transformative turn thanks to Safe Homes. S.K., a 27-year-old non-Jordanian woman, sought refuge at SOS Children’s Villages in Jordan with her three young children, aged 8, 6, and 5, referred by the Public Security Directorate-Family and Juvenile Protection Department (FJPD). After enduring nine years of domestic violence, S.K. had the courage to seek help. Upon arrival, S.K. and her children displayed signs of psychological distress, prompting their immediate placement in a safe home within one of SOS villages. Despite years of attempting to escape violence, S.K. faced additional challenges without family and friends support in Jordan. Cut off from her family for 12 years, she had limited knowledge of her rights or available resources for help. 

“When I arrived at the Safe Homes I knew nothing, I was lost. I did not know the difference between right and wrong.  I did not know how to behave or interact with my children. After my time here, my relationship with them has changed. I learned how to control my anger, how to behave at home and how to manage the household needs and expenses.” S.K explains. 

Her situation was further complicated by the fact that she and her partner were not officially married, nor their three children officially registered (they did not have birth certificates nor national identity numbers), thus denied access to services such as education, immunisation, or medical care. 

In a reflection on her transformative journey with Safe Homes, S.K encapsulates the profound impact of the project “I started cooking all the time. I really enjoyed it. I have changed everything, the way I interact with people and the way I manage my own life. The way I feel about myself. Thank you SOS Children’s Village Jordan for giving me everything before I even asked for it. Thank you so much.” 

A Path to Healing through the Safe Homes team’s efforts

After assessing S.K.’s case, the SAFE HOMES team immediately began working with the Family and Juvenile Protection Department, Civil Status and Passports Department, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Education, and succeeded in legalising S.K ‘s situation and that of her children, who eventually accessed medical care and enrolled in public schools. Alongside legal assistance, S.K. and her children received psychological support from the SOS team. After a few weeks of recovery and sessions with specialised professionals, S.K. felt stronger and more confident. She then accepted SOS’s advice to participate in training on positive parenting, education, and psychological care.

“As the children prepared for their first day at school, I witnessed the sparkle in their eyes, realising they were being granted the chance to revel in their fundamental right to education,” said Monda, Safe Homes’ project manager.

Salma’s tale with Safe Homes: rebirth, empowerment, and self-discovery

Another powerful narrative is that of Salma, whose story shows that Safe Homes not only provided her with a roof over her head but also became a space for healing and empowerment. 

“A new woman was born to me. Everything changed in me. I started to see my life as my own. I learnt many things and the most important was that I understood and became aware of the situation I had been in for the past years and realised that I was the most important thing for me and for my children. I learned how to face adversity and not give up. One of the best things that happened to me was to be reunited with my children, something I had dreamed of for so long. And my dream has come true.  Everything is different with them around, they have brought me back to life. This year Ramadan was beautiful because we were all together. The two boys are happy and getting stronger and finally the three of them are together, that is the greatest joy”. She says. 

“What I take away from my stay in Safe Homes is that I have learnt that nobody should decide for me. I am the owner of my life, of my decisions. I started to think in a much broader way, I should focus on my life and set my priorities. I stopped listening to negative opinions, I learnt how to deal with people in an appropriate and organised way, and most importantly I learnt how to draw boundaries between myself and people, in short, I am now responsible for my life”. Selma continues. 

Salma’s story is one of rebirth, a rediscovery of self, and the realisation that she is the architect of her own destiny. 

Gender Human Rights