Songül Öden, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund Turkey Spokesperson Visiting this center made me very happy and being here is quite touching. Although the wounds of the war cannot be healed…Words fail me. Forced migration is probably one of the world’s biggest wounds and it can happen to anybody. No one should think that “this will not to happen to me”. I have listened to amazing human stories. These women left behind their jobs, families, livelihoods when they fled. Şanlıurfa has 5 Women and Girls Safe Spaces, four of which are funded by the European
Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. I saw things that made me happy, because I met with a psychologist as well as a social service expert, a doctor who is providing reproductive health services, a midwife, a nurse, and other staff members known as “health mediators”. They start their work at 9 AM in their own neighborhoods and they visit and talk to Syrian women living in the area until 3 PM. They are directing the ones who need vaccinations or who have health problems to these centers. They inform the refugee women about their legal rights. I’m very happy that they’re being healed here. They are socializing as well, Women do things they know well; some do handicrafts, some do knitting and teach each other, and all the fact that the children are smiling is the most striking observation that I made here, even though they have a lot of losses, people here are trying to instill love back into them. The definition of the term “safe space” is explained here which is a very important issue for women here. The women are informed about reproductive health issues and their health checks are done without being judged or labeled by anyone about anything. About the violence, they are focusing on the exact definition of what constitutes violence against women, because most of them don’t understand and know it, when asked they can’t tell the difference between psychological violence and physical violence. They are getting assistance from the social services experts and the psychologists. They have nursery teachers who are taking care of the children while their mothers are upstairs being examined. The children have crayons, toys… I’m truly happy to see that. I was told about the training sessions here. The provided services here are invaluable contributions in the name of humanity which is precious thing to have. Women who are victims of war serve other women who are also victims of war. They share their knowledge, share their wisdom. Language, as the primary language is Arabic, this is a very important detail. For us the people who are identified simply as “refugees” have their own unique stories and names here.