The offices of Hurras (Guardians) in the Eastern Ghouta is a beehive of activity. Managed by a number of women who have to forget about death, to be able to continue saving the young lives around them. The organisation, which takes care of vulnerable children, focuses on “building capacities and professional skills in people entrusted with children, such as at schools, kindergartens and orphanages; as well as working with parents and siblings.”
The women of the center don’t only focus on protection of children, but they also have activities that focus on long-term planning to achieve “direct, real and sustainable change in society so that children could have the care they deserve, psychologically, socially and educationally.” The center, which is managed by women, does not restrict its services to women though, and it boasts many male volunteers as well.
Despite the huge obstacles they face in the Ghouta, from the constant siege and bombardment, the team has been able to work within these margin. They credit their success to their “understanding of cultural and local nuances, which they use to their advantage in offering better protection to the children.” However, they contend that some of the cultural/traditional inheritances provide serious hurdles to their work, especially when it comes to conservative families and their stance on working women.
To achieve their aims most efficiently, the center prioritises the involvement of local communities and families in the activities with children: “This makes them more interested in collaborating, because they feel that there is someone who listens to them and honestly shares their pain.”The center has also participated in the First Conference for Women, convened in Douma on January 31, 2015, and organised by the Women’s affairs desk at the Local Council of Douma. The center contributed a presentation about the network of guardians, its foundation and mechanisms.
In the International Women’s Day, Maymouna, from the network of guardians had a special message to Syrian women: “Women can never obtain their rights in this country, without obtaining human rights to all. The liberation of women from oppression and ignorance can not be distinguished from the liberation of all people from these same ills.” She continues: “In repressive societies, women are oppressed doubly: once as humans and once as women.” The only way forward is “to regain our confidence in our brain and our heart, and to take up our responsibilities side by side to men.”