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Aisha felt like she’d lost everything in the aftermath of the war in Syria. The conflict destroyed her home, her community and her way of life. The trauma of war also destroyed Aisha’s sense of self. As a refugee in Lebanon, Aisha suffered from panic attacks and insomnia.

Then Aisha joined a group of wonderful women. Women who she could relate to, who she could talk to. Women who supported her to rebuild her life. Thankfully, when all seemed lost, Aisha found herself again.

Empower Women Refugee

These artworks are part of a series of illustrations by Sarah Khayat, a Syrian artist working with Women Now to tell stories of refugees at the centre in Lebanon.

The illustrations depict the journeys of women like Aisha: from surviving the devastation of war, escaping conflict, finding safety with other women, and the joy of passing on new-found knowledge to future generations.

Aisha’s story

Imagine losing your sense of self – your passions and your purpose – your very identity. This was how Aisha felt in the aftermath of the war. Thankfully, after joining a brilliant CAFOD-funded, all-female support group called Women Now, and working hard to rebuild her life, she found herself again.

“I came to the Women Now centre with no expectations of any change. Before the war, I had a really active social life and used to read a lot. I lost my interest in everything after the war. When I started attending classes and sessions with Women Now, I got to meet other women, my sisters, who have gone through similar ordeals to me, who survived and were able to continue with their lives. This empowered me to participate more in social life.

English classes helped me gain self-confidence. Being able to learn new skills at this age, I found a purpose in my life again, and began to read again.


“I never imagined I could find myself again but having the support from peers and staff helped me to reorganise my life and participate again. Even while learning online, the fact that I have someone to talk to about hardships helps me to overcome any sense of isolation. I sleep better now, and I know that I have people to pick me up and support me.”

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