In the words of Safiye Mustafa: “UN Women’s SADA resilience centre transformed my dreams into real plans”

Safiye, 52, fled the war in Syria with her four children, leaving behind everything she had in Aleppo. After undergoing training at the SADA Women Empowerment and Solidarity Centre in Gaziantep, in southern Turkey, she is now determined to open a shoe atelier and rebuild her life in Turkey. The Centre operates under the “Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls and Host Communities in Turkey Project,” co-financed by the European Union Regional Trust Fund and the Government of Japan. The project is led by UN Women in partnership with Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, International Labour Organisation and Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants.

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2019

In the words of Safiye Mustafa. Photo: UN Women/Pınar Alkan Yarıkkaya
Safiye Mustafa fled the war in Syria with her four children. She receives training at the SADA Centre in Gaziantep, Turkey. Photo: UN Women/Pınar Alkan Yarıkkaya 

We left everything we had. I had a shoe atelier in Syria, I had a life there. But now, I am starting a new in Turkey. I take shoe-making courses at the SADA Centre and I even plan to open a shoe atelier. Let me say one big thing, which I am very much proud of: All my children studied here, and graduated from different universities in Turkey, the eldest one started working as well.

Being active in both social and working life is important for women. Resilience centres such as SADA have a huge impact on the refugee community. I was so happy when I first learned that SADA provides support and training for both the refugee and local women together. Meeting women with experience like mine empowered me because I was not alone anymore. Day by day, I made friends. We were gathering and discussing topics related to us and we began to hold meetings more frequently. Eventually, we founded a women’s platform, the “Women of Future Committee” made up of refugee women who benefit from SADA.

Women need to go out of their homes to socialize, to empower and to share. I continuously encourage, especially, the refugee women around me to join such activities. I am so thankful to all the parties who provided us with a chance to recover and rebuild our lives.”