Jan 14, 2014

Because every life matters

I was supposed to blog about this long ago, but I guess I was too lazy to share.

 I have decided (after submission of my thesis) to dedicate more time for writing and blogging.

 Stay tuned people...

I know I have been focusing on tragic stories a lot on this blog, but from now on I'll be sharing more exciting stuff. And I have a good feeling that exciting things are awaiting me this year!

Anyways, to start of let's together go through one of the most exciting journeys of my life. :)

About four months ago, I started a job (for three months period) at a humanitarian organization. My job was basically doing workshops for high schools girls in Hawler. Myself with a team of a sociologist, gynecologist, assistant, and an organizer undertook 10 workshops in 10 different high schools in Hawler. In each school we had 25 to 30 female participants and the total number of all participants was 302 girls.

The first day of the first workshop & in the first school
Discussions on sexual harassment 

In the Kurdish society, there are many issues that girls either face, or are not aware of. Among many of those issues are sexual harassment, and gender discrimination among some families. The fact is neither culture, nor families allow open discussions on such matters.

Group discussions on healthy communications with parents

That's why, I thought it would be important if we provided a special program where we could meet girls closely talk about such matters. That's when I decided to initiate this workshop. 

In one of the sessions about anger and depression. Asking the girls, "Have you ever loved someone whom you have lost contact with? If yes, please step forward."

Our aim was to inform the girls about some of their basic rights which they might not be aware of. We wanted to teach them how to become decision makers and work to build their future.We wanted to teach and help them how to control feelings of anger and depression and build healthy communication with parents through dialogue. Our aim was also to explain the importance of self-esteem for the girls and having goals in life. And finally, we wanted to give health awareness through a gynecologist who walked the journey with us all through the three months we spent with the girls. 

And so we did it! 

Session on Health and hygiene 

In the three months that I have spent with the girls, I literally learnt A LOT. I was not only inspired, but also taught everyday life lessons from the stories I have heard and the personal experience I have had with the girls. I made over 300 friends, and listened to more than hundred of dreadful and joyful stories. More importantly, I was able to be a small part of problem solving for the girls. 

Discussing the effects of gossip on society 

The experience was life changing for me. For the first time in my life, I loved my job and since I always leave jobs after few months of working ( mainly because I believe we shouldn't settle unless we find what we love) my family was quite surprised to see me so happy with the work I was doing. 

Chinese whispers

I was fascinated to find girls opening their hearts for me and building trust so quickly. I really wish all schools in Kurdistan would consider having such programs so the girls would talk about their problems and find solutions. 

I am more than sure that those girls have the ability to be change makers, only if they were pushed a little. Most of them "have it" in them, but what they need is motivation to bring out the positive energy. 

Role playing on family relationships 

 I am still in touch with some of them, they still send me messages, sometimes they tell me about their problems and sometimes they just text me to share a happy news with me. And that makes me super happy.

That's how we exchanged letters everyday with the students

Our dreams on the wall. 

Those girls have touched me deep inside, and I know somehow I have touched them too! :) 

Letters from the girls. Beautiful words from beautiful people! 

One of the girls, she dreams of becoming a writer someday. She was pretty good at poetry actually. :)

Because simple acts of kindness touch lives... 

Sharing love. Writing for each other.

In one of the sessions about self-esteem and having goals in life. One of the most exciting ones. 

There is a lot more that we can do for Kurdistan, and a lot more awaiting me to do as well.

A very special thanks for Brwska (sociologist) Sahand (gynecologist), Abdulahad (assistant), Rezheen (organizer), Hawer (volunteer) for walking the journey with me. 

*The project was sponsored by Rwanga charity organization.*

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