Major: International Studies and American Culture
This summer, through the Wallenberg grant and others, we launched QUWA, a self-defense and trauma therapy program for Syrian women refugees in Turkey. QUWA seeks to build peace by focusing on both inner and outer safety and security. Our participants are women who have had stability taken from them, and QUWA’s goal is to give every woman the tools with which to protect herself physically and emotionally, as well as the confidence for self-sufficiency. Short-term, we hope that each of these women are able to use the self-care and reflection strategies we learned in the healing circle and the physical self-defense techniques, and practice them to gain more control and contentment in their lives, as well as pass it on to other women. Long-term, we hope that QUWA can work with more Arab women to address violence in different contexts, and that it will grow to be a self-sustaining entity that can consistently help communities of women find peace.
Working on QUWA has been beneficial in more ways than one. Because we participated in the project’s activities, it has brought us as organizers as much healing and peace as it has to our participants. It has taught us about real resilience and knowing oneself, and about the importance of community support. QUWA has also given us the experience of large-scale project organizing and programming, and the opportunities to meet and work with phenomenal Arab women with whom we have formed lasting relationships.