The day Rahaf learned about her rights!

Rahaf now passes on the knowledge she has gained to a group of Lebanese and Syrian 10-year-olds. “What do UNICEF and KAFA do?” Rahaf asked her eager audience: “They protect us from harm,” they replied.

Hala Abi Saleh
Rahaf smiling while standing in class.
Fouad Choufany

23 January 2019

Rahaf, 15, is a Syrian refugee who has been living in Lebanon for four years. She is a graduate of KAFA’s UNICEF supported PSS programme, funded by the EU Regional Trust Fund: MADAD, which raises awareness of gender-based violence.

At a collective shelter in Chtaura, Rahaf is now passing on the knowledge she has gained to a group of Lebanese and Syrian 10 year-olds. “What do UNICEF and KAFA do?” Rahaf asked her eager audience: “They protect us from harm,” they replied.

Through this programme, vulnerable children find shelter from harm and receive comfort and empowerment. They learn that they have a right to dignity and protection; they learn how to protect themselves and how to reach out when they cannot.

Girl introducing younger boy to his new friends
Fouad Choufany

In at-risk communities where violence against children is common, child protection and nurturing is crucial. Through this programme, vulnerable children find shelter from harm and receive comfort and empowerment. They learn that they have a right to dignity and protection; they learn how to protect themselves and how to reach out when they cannot.

Adolescence is a highly significant phase in a child’s development, as they begin to find their individuality and formulate their own thoughts. By choosing adolescents like Rahaf to receive and then give training, Kafa’s programme is providing sustainability in the effort to stop gender-based violence.

“The knowledge I gained about gender-based violence empowered me and I decided to go back to school,” said Rahaf. “I had rights I didn’t know about until Kafa introduced them to me,” she said.

Kids sitting around with UNICEF poster behind.
Fouad Choufany

Rahaf said she had been forced to interrupt her schooling when she came to Lebanon and was not encouraged to resume it. She did not expect her studies to be relevant to her unstable status as a refugee, nor to her gender. “The knowledge I gained about gender-based violence empowered me and I decided to go back to school,” said Rahaf. “I had rights I didn’t know about until Kafa introduced them to me,” she said.

 “When they begin the 14-session programme on gender-based violence, the beneficiaries, made up of children, teens and parents are extremely shy and unsure of their roles in the initiative,” said Salwa Al Homsi, Kafa Communications Officer. The programme steadily builds self-confidence as it implements the manual of protection against violence and has had palpable results on the communities it serves. By the end of the training the beneficiaries are fortified by their expanded knowledge and abilities. Adolescent trainers like Rahaf have “shown themselves to be reliable emissaries of this knowledge and that they can not only change their ways of thinking about violence, but also influence others within their communities by questioning harmful cultural norms,” said Al Homsi.

The ultimate aim of the programme provided by UNICEF-KAFA is to abolish gender-based violence. But by taking an active interest in disadvantaged and suffering children and adolescents, it is healing their wounds, instilling hope in their hearts and paving the way to a healthier, more peaceful society.

Girl studying
Fouad Choufany

The ultimate aim of the programme provided by UNICEF-KAFA is to abolish gender-based violence. But by taking an active interest in disadvantaged and suffering children and adolescents, it is healing their wounds, instilling hope in their hearts and paving the way to a healthier, more peaceful society.

 

Thanks to the European Union Trust Fund: MADAD for empowering adolescents like Rahaf to take the lead in helping other children understand their rights!

 

Girl in class
Fouad Choufany