“The only place in the world where I could speak about my issues without fear or shame were the Intisar Foundation drama therapy sessions. Even if only once a week, I would leave the house as one person and come back as another. I would return lighter, more confident and happier.”
I am Najwa, originally from the Idlib countryside in Syria. I turned 35 this year and I have eight children with my husband. The oldest is 16 and the youngest is 18 months old.
I live in Khalde, south of Beirut. I have been living in Lebanon for seven years.
My house is a wreck, the roof leaks, we do not have electricity. There are rats all around my neighbourhood. We are deprived of our simplest rights, and we suffer constantly here in Lebanon. I cannot compare the difficulties that I experienced in Syria to the difficulties of living in Lebanon.
In Syria, we lived under constant threat of bombs, and a lack of safety and security. In Lebanon, we feel like an imposition on the country and its people. We have no freedom, no identity or belonging. The humiliation of life here, seeing my children without warmth, food, a community, electricity, and basic needs. It just seems that it will get even worse for us and the Lebanese people – may God make things better for all of us.
I heard about the Intisar Foundation drama therapy programme and I thought that the idea of doing a group activity would help me and those around me. It is not just about supporting myself, but also about supporting and uplifting those around me. The first week passed by, then the second, then the third. With every passing week, I learned more things, spoke more, trusted the group and felt better. I became very close with the other women, and we still communicate even after the programme ended. We give each other positive energy. A lot of hard work was put into this programme, and I hope I could repeat it.
The only place in the world where I could speak about my issues without fear or shame were the Intisar Foundation drama therapy sessions. Even if only once a week, I would leave the house as one person and come back as another. I would return lighter, more confident and happier. I found myself caring less about other people and what they thought or said about me. What matters is my happiness and well-being. Even after the programme ended, I try to remind myself of the things we did in the sessions, like the music, the breathing and relaxation activities, and I find myself feeling better instantly.
Life has taught me that the more difficulties we experience, it is up to us to use these opportunities to grow stronger. Depend on God and then yourself. Your love for yourself is what matters, not how much others love you. Your approval of yourself is what matters, not what others think of you. It is up to you to ensure your happiness in life, not what life throws at you. The drama therapy programme by Intisar Foundation taught me how to love myself and stop worrying about others, and how to find my happiness in life.
“Your love for yourself is what matters, not how much others love you. Your approval of yourself is what matters, not what others think of you. It is up to you to ensure your happiness in life, not what life throws at you.”
Officially registered as a humanitarian organisation with the Charity Commission for England and Wales in 2019, Intisar Foundation is the first charitable organisation in the Middle East dedicated to providing psychological support programmes of drama therapy to Arab women affected by the brutality of war and violence.
Number 22, Mount Ephraim,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN48AS
UK Registration Charity Number: 1182384
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