We are honoured to be partnering with UN Women

If you saw our founders’ message on Facebook recently, you will know that at Barre Body, we have been deeply moved by the Syrian refugee crisis, and as a company, made a pledge to do whatever we can to support, by donating $15,000 annually to a charity working in the area. After much searching, many conversations and lots of thinking – we are so honoured to announce that our annual pledge will be made to UN Women. Hear more from our founder, Emma Seibold, talking about this partnership here.

UN Women is an organisation we care so deeply about, and are so delighted to be partnering with on a long-term basis. As well as their work in the Syrian Refugee crisis, they do incredible work across the globe as a global champion for women and girls.

To celebrate our partnership, we wanted to share with you a little more about the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and the work UN Women are doing in this area. We’ll also be posting regular blogs with stories, so you can see the impact being made from Barre Body’s donations – which is your contribution as well, for being a client and supporter of Barre Body.

UN Women Responds to the Syrian Crisis
Since the start of the conflict in 2011, more than four million people have fled Syria. UN Women is on the ground in Jordan, one of the countries that has received the largest influx of Syrian refugees who have escaped the conflict. More than 80,000 have sought shelter in the Za’atari refugee camp, where UN Women and World Food Programme are working together to provide economic empowerment programmes specifically for women and girls.

UN Women’s “Oasis” initiative runs three safe spaces for women and girls, which offer opportunities to earn an income, protection referral services, daycare services, and life skills training such as Arabic and English literacy, sewing and computer classes. More than 5,000 Syrian women and girls visit ‘Oases’ safe spaces in the Za’atari camp per month, and several hundred have independently earned incomes through their cash-for-work programmes through which they make kits for newborn babies and school uniforms for boys and girls, in close partnership with UNICEF.

In Za’atari refugee camp, women and children make up 80% of the refugee community.

UN Women is restoring the dignity of refugee women through job training and cash-for-work programs that bolster support for women and their families, provide meaningful opportunities to engage in the camp community and have a say over decisions that impact them, and, prevent sexual and gender-based violence. Increasing women’s earning opportunities benefits them beyond economics, as it gives them decision-making power and a level of protection from violence. Around 91% of women interviewed stated that the safe spaces for women help them recover self-esteem and their independent sense of identity. Moreover, engagement in the programme has led to a marked decrease in domestic violence—a reported 20 per cent decrease—among the beneficiary population, with the opportunity to leave the home stated as the primary reason for this reduction.

Through interviews, women who participate in Oasis programs overwhelmingly stressed the positive impact that holistic programming has had on them, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive, targeted service delivery to women and girls within Za’atari. Approximately 89 per cent stated that they benefit in ways that are not just limited to financial gain. Engaging in female-focused empowerment programming has helped beneficiaries re-establish their social network within the camp, break the cycle of isolation that they feel, build their skill set, feel safer and become more active in their families and communities as well as increase their awareness about services within the camp and issues around gender-based violence.

Through the Oasis model, programme participants and beneficiaries reported forming new community bonds and rebuilding their social networks, which have been eroded by the war and displacement.

Amena’s Story

Amena fled Syria with her four children because she received threats that her daughter would be killed. She left everything behind: her house, her husband and all of her belongings.

Just like Amena, most women who flee Syria arrive in camps or host communities without a dollar to their name. Poverty breeds hunger and despair, but it can also coerce girls into early or forced marriage as households seek to lessen their economic burden.

Unaccompanied girls, including women-headed households, are at high risk of exploitation, trafficking and sexual abuse given limited access to decent jobs.

Having seen other families forced to give their daughters up to marriage at a young age, exploitation and trafficking, Amena was terrified of losing her children. Training coupled with a decent job have been essential — providing Amena with an income to support her family, to keep them united, and safe.

Hayam is a single mother in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. Life for Hayam and her children in Syria was hard. Hayam lost two pregnancies at the hands of her husband’s abuse. Forced to flee Syria with her abusive husband, he soon abandoned her, leaving Hayam alone to support herself and her children.

Inside the camp, UN Women is teaching Hayam new skills and providing her with a job as a tailor, making school uniforms. She is now able to support herself and her children, regain confidence and feel a part of a community.

Photo: Christopher Herwig/UN Women