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  • Writer's pictureFotis Filippou

Community voices: Women-led initiatives need to be supported

As part of our series of community calls, members of the Taking the Lead network come together regularly to learn from the experiences and expertise of one another.

For our call in July 2023, we were joined by Mayada Zaza and Ramia al-Sous, who kicked off the conversation and shared their experiences of building power in community and the challenges of accessing funding as refugee-led initiatives in Lebanon.

Mayada, is 49 years old and is the parent of 6 children. She is their only breadwinner. After she lost her husband in 2013, she sought refuge in Lebanon that same year. She turned to community work and decided to develop herself by joining several workshops and trainings, so that she could help others who were unable to go out and know their duties and rights. She has established an initiative, together with 5 other women, that aims to support marginalised women through an awareness program. They are currently targeting an area in the central Bekaa called Al-Faour. Refugee women there are unable to leave their camps because of the Shawish’s control and exploitation of them and their lives and resources. You can listen to Mayada's intervention below.

Ramia al-Sous has three children. She works as a volunteer with the Seenaryo Organization for theatrical works. She also works as a volunteer with the Sawa Organization for Relief and Development. Being the wife of a former detainee and martyred under torture, she had a cause to work for, which is the issue of the missing and detainees, and I became involved in campaigns and advocacy. In 2021, she established an initiative with the name “War Strengthened Me” to support the wounded and injured of the war through psychological support and economic empowerment. You can listen to Ramia's intervention below.

The Taking the Lead community calls are being hosted by MobLab Collective's Emma You Biermann. Emma's mother was herself a refugee from Cambodia who fled to the UK in the 1970s as a result of US bombings on her country. Emma is a transformational trainer, facilitator, strategist and physical movement practitioner, working for trauma informed systems change.


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