Women Response Room (WRR) – Juref West
Our Women Response Room is part of Juref West Emergency Response Room, which was initiated from women solidarity and the need of supporting each other. Our WRR activities are built around the volunteering women in the soup kitchen. We get together and prepare food for and with our community. We discuss, share everyday events and support each other mentally on the basis of mutual aid.
Since the beginning of war families found it challenging to provide their basic needs while war was waged around them. The state collapsed and everyone was left to fend for themselves. We are traumatized by the recurring shooting inside our neighborhoods throughout the day, the daily accounts of attacks and looting of family and friends, heavy artillery and bombing that lasts for hours everyday. Families could not deal with such a crisis alone. This put a lot of stress on the adults which left children to face and deal with unexplained war trauma, stress and mental health issues alone. Children lost their support system through friends’ displacement, schools shut downs, stopping of family visits, social events and gatherings.
The children’s trauma healing program
- Art sessions: engages 40 children while drawing and coloring in themed talks and discussions that helps them better visually express and share their war experiences, fears, challenges and hopes and learn how to deal with these emotions through the arts. During the art sessions children also express community issues like diversity, cultures and racism.
- Games: The program also offers a friendly and safe environment for the children to play social skills activities and games that helps engage the different age groups.
- The children’s farming school: This generates therapy rehabilitation, social inclusion and education through teaching children basic techniques of home farming. Each child chooses a type of seed to grow and take care of till harvesting.
- Children food: Farming alongside the art and games is our growing war time school program. The program also provides children a daily meal including two eggs and juice that supplements their daily intake of protein and vitamins.
- The mothers: The daycare aspect of the program supports mothers by giving them space to interact with others in their communities and have deep conversations through the act of mutual aid of communal food preparation. This helps their mental health and shares their responsibilities of explaining the war with the community..
Eid Day Celebration: Juref West ERR celebrated Eid AlAdha on 28th of June in the soup kitchen along with a gathering of 100 families . Meanwhile the WRR organized activities for more than 50 children (ages 3-13) groups who celebrated Eid with the community in the soup kitchen. Eid chants and local games were played between the different children and their families, engaging the whole community in a mutual healing and solidarity experience as families came together to celebrate for the first time since the beginning of the war.
Children Art Exhibition (Lentil Exhibit) : This art exhibition came from the idea of sharing the children’s artwork with the soup kitchen community, especially their mothers. 30-40 children participated in drawing and preparing for the exhibition which included promoting the event to the community and their families, which enhanced their sense of being part of a community. An Organizing committee of five was elected by the children to welcome the guests and introduce the event and the artwork. The committee (ages 6-9 years old) then decided on the space and participated in hanging the artwork. The event brought more families to the space to celebrate the exhibition. The children felt confident and a new form of organizing among them emerged as they now decide on events and games together by discussing and agreeing.