During times of conflict girls and women become more at risk of sexual violence and abuse. SWL’s volunteers work in risky settings, both in conflict zones where combat is ongoing, and in refugee camps where sexual and gender-based violence remain a constant threat to women’s rights defenders. Economic sanctions on Syria have tightened restrictions on financial flows directed to the region, making it extremely difficult for SWL to secure funding.
At the outset of the 2011 pro-democratic uprising, SWL was at the forefront of local civil society demonstrations calling for a peaceful democratic transition. Throughout years of civil war, SWL has worked to address the needs that women and girls experienced in the conflict and to ensure that its call for a rights-based society is represented in future peace and transitional justice processes. SWL provides educational services for children in refugee camps, teaching them about their right to live free from gender-based violence, providing skills to contribute to peacebuilding and empowering them to advocate for their rights using both national and international legal frameworks.
The organisation provides women with reproductive health services including contraceptives, family planning, health counselling and check-ups. These activities take place in a makeshift school in the Baqa’a refugee camp in Lebanon, where SWL trains local coordinators to provide services to more refugee girls. To strengthen its impact on girls, SWL also works to educate mothers, recognising their vital role in protecting and advancing the rights of their daughters.
Photos: Alia Haju/Stars Foundation