The words of Ghinwa from Aleppo, North Syria

The situation in Syria is very sad. We face new tragedies every day. It’s not even about a country anymore, it’s about us trying to survive.

My name is Ghinwa and I come from the Northern part of Syria. I call it the sad North as it suffers not only from open clashes and displacements, but also of exhaustion and depression. I used to see the North as an example of prosperity and pluralism, rich with natural resources and diversified with ethnicities and nationalities. Here Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Arabs, Chaldeans, Turks, you name it, all lived in harmony together. But this great human wealth has now turned into a curse. Fear and hate are dominating people. This political was has succeeded, a whole society that once was happy is destroyed.

Women in Syria used to have high social status. They were ambitious co-workers, mothers, sisters, friends, daughters. Today, a woman in Syria is a broken creature filled with sadness and fear. Fear of death, fear of loss, fear of being used and harassed. Lots of efforts are needed to bring back humanity, life and dignity to Syrian women.

After my participation in Clowns Without Border’s training, I carried my new filled luggage and headed back home to the Sad North. The luggage was filled with laughter, positive energy and humanity. This I directly started to share with my fellow women. During weeks I gathered and trained a group of women in the methods I had been taught. Often, we met in secret in each other’s living rooms since public gatherings is forbidden in Syria. These women now are doing these trainings themselves. Today they work with women and girls who are exposed to child marriages, depression, violence, fear and social constraints. For the first time they are openly sharing their horrible experiences and the fact that we are so many carrying the same experiences makes me hold on to my luggage even harder. I want to create smaller bags out of it and distribute this psychosocial first aid kit to every girl and woman.

It hurts to see a whole civilization, nation and humanity totally destroyed. Today my home lacks love, confidence and trust. All Syrian’s live in a constantly crisis on all levels. But despite all this sadness, I still have hope. Hope of a better world. The luggage I carry, keeps being filled with new laughter, positive energy and humanity, for every new woman I meet. It’s what makes me survive.