Shorash is 23 years old. She is Syrian but now lives in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). When living in Syria became too difficult, Shorash, along with her parents and siblings, fled to Turkey. Like thousands of other Syrian refugees, they walked to the Turkish border carrying only essentials. At the border, they were kept for several days without food or water. Finally, they were allowed into Turkey where they knew no one and had nowhere to go. Shorash and her family spent almost three months sleeping in a park in Turkey before they decided to make their way to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Eventually, they reached the Darren Shikran refugee camp where she spent three months and then moved to Erbil where she met and married her husband.

Erbil became Shorash’s new home, but living in a foreign country came with difficulties. She looked for a job and became frustrated when she found no success. One day, her husband came home from work and told Shorash about the Women for Women International – KRI programme. He told Shorash that the people running the centre cared about women refugees like her and would help improve her chances of finding a job or setting up her own business. Excited, Shorash went to the centre and signed up immediately.

"The programme changed my life; I no longer feel lonely and isolated as before. Through the programme I got to know other Syrian women in the neighbourhood and the centre manager helped me connect with other services available for Syrian refugees. I have been sharing my knowledge about women’s rights and how to prevent violence against women and girls with women in my community,” shares Shorash.

Shorash was inspired and interested in the business skills courses. She says, “I developed a plan for setting up a greenhouse construction business with the support of my husband.” Shorash attended all her classes every day without fail and completed her studies while being pregnant. She sat for her final exams on the same day she gave birth to her baby daughter, Nalin. 

By sharing her knowledge about women's rights with her fellow Syrian refugees, Shorash encourages others to be the change in their community and create a society free from abuse and conflict. 

We are proud of the strong and resilient spirits of the women we serve; women like Shorash who will share their knowledge with their community and bring the change that will lead to lasting peace in conflict zones. We know that others in the community will benefit from her entrepreneurial and courageous spirit.