A woman and girl walk in Za'atari, Jordan's largest refugee camp.
Credit: Hajer Naili
In September 2013, Women's eNews sent a three-person multi-media team to Jordan to cover and share the stories of Syrian female refugees living in that country. Some have said this century is the century of the refugee and, if so, these pieces may be emblematic of the experiences of all women fleeing armed conflicts.
The ongoing conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011 between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and several opposition groups, had led to the deaths of more than 120,000 people when the team was in Jordan. In addition, more than 4 million Syrians have been displaced and more than 3 million have fled to countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
This special series highlights the unique risks Syrian women face living as refugees, as well as the survival strategies they develop for themselves and their families. Women's eNews Arabic site editor Dominique Soguel, staff reporter Hajer Naili and development associate Touline Habake spent a month reporting from refugee camps, including Jordan's largest camp Za'atari, and surrounding suburban neighborhoods serving displaced Syrian families. On the ground in Jordan, Women's eNews also found extraordinary talent who helped the team throughout their stay. These fixers, who provided everything from sources to translation and transportation to cultural background, included Maher Abdallatef, Radwan Abdellatef, Shafika Mattar and Mayss al-Zoubi.
Women's eNews' reporters were the first to draw attention to the large numbers of refugees returning to Syria under the cover of night to look for a better life in their homeland and because they missed male family members. In addition, the series has covered a wide range of issues from lost educational opportunities for Syrian girls to the difficult economic choices Syrian women have to make to support themselves and their families.
Alongside these stories are related videos and photo galleries, as well as an oral history project to preserve the stories of Syrian women living as refugees.
Collateral Damage Syria: Women and Girls Fleeing Violence was largely supported by contributions made by donors at the May 1, 2013, Women's eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century gala, following the public announcement of the project. Women's eNews then completed a final $15,000 round of funding in just 16 days through Catapult, the online crowdfunding platform supporting social justice efforts for girls and women.