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Safe spaces help to rebuild lives of women faced with violence

Marib, Yemen - Samar was married at the age of 15 years. At 16 years she was pregnant with her first child. Escaping death due to complications during her first pregnancy, Samar consequently went on to have three more children.

After the birth of her fourth child, Samar’s husband became very ill and turned abusive towards Samar. The husband’s health condition deteriorated drastically and with that the violence and abuse also increased. Soon Samar found herself responsible for the entire family.

A whole family on her shoulder

"I found myself faced with an unbearable responsibility. Four children meant having to find money for food, clothes, school fees, on top of buying medicines for my sick husband. There were many days we had to go without food,” tells Samar.

The pressure of taking care of the entire family took a toll on Samar’s mental health.

Samar decided to move with her family to her brother's house in Seiyun but her brother’s living conditions were no better due to the economic pressures brought by increased fighting in the area.

Samar stayed with her brother for a few months before he asked her to leave.

“I did not know where to go or what to do. My husband became more and more abusive to the point he threatened to kill me and my children. I was on the verge of collapse when I discovered a safe space for women like me,” says Samar.  

A glimmer of hope

Samar heard about the safe space for women and girls in Marib through a relative that had received services at the same safe space.

"When I arrived at the safe space, they received me with warmth and concern. They were very nice people. They gave me hope and optimism,” says Samar with a smile on her face.

Samar was immediately transferred for counselling sessions to regain her self-confidence and to help her come out of her grief.

 "Samar arrived at the safe space in a miserable state.  I immediately transferred her for psychosocial support. Then we enrolled her in several livelihood skills training courses. During her entire training period, the safe space paid her a monthly salary that helped her bear living costs for her family until she was able to earn for herself,” said the safe space manager.

After several months of training, Samar is now ready to start her own food business.

"I feel that I am a new person. I am no longer the weak person I was in the past. I have now graduated from my last training course and begun to prepare for my own business in manufacturing cakes and sweets," adds Samar.

In addition to the training, Samar and other trainees have received, marketing skills, equipment such as ovens, gas cylinders and tools need to start their own business.

Rebuilding lives

Safe spaces provide women face with violence like Samar access to a range of protection services. These include, legal assistance, psychosocial support, awareness raisin and referral to other specialized services like medical or shelter support.

Livelihood support in the form of building skills of women to start their own income generating activities is a key service provide at these safe spaces.  These empower women, especially female-headed households to build the skills they need to enter the labour market or start their own business and support their families.

With the funding support of KS Relief to eight safe spaces across the country, more than 27,000 women received protection services since March 2021, with nearly 800 women receiving livelihood support.