From War to Hope
A Journey of Resilience and Education in Libya
Shiraz, a nine-year-old girl from Darfur, Sudan arrived in Libya in 2020 after fleeing from the war in Sudan. Before fleeing Sudan, Shiraz’s father was abducted by militas which led to the mother fleeing Sudan in fear that they would kidnap her and Shiraz. When they fled Sudan, Shiraz’s mother was pregnant with her second child.
Shiraz and her mother had a difficult journey to Libya which required them to cross the desert, smuggled in inhuman conditions and kept them in cramped camps with no light or ventilation. After three months, they reached Libya and found refuge in the home of a family friend who was also a single mother. Eventually, Shiraz’s mother found casual work as a cleaner once or twice a week which allowed her to provide food for her family and contribute a small amount towards their living expenses. However, towards the end of her pregnancy, she became unwell and was admitted to the hospital and later gave birth to a baby boy. In the hospital, the authorities came to take Shiraz’s mother and her newly born son as she is undocumented. Shiraz continued to stay with their family friend and her mother was released from the detention center after four months. During this time, Shiraz was struggling with PTSD and was withdrawing from daily life activities.
Shiraz was referred to the CESVI Child Protection team who did an assessment and developed a case plan to meet her needs. Shiraz was not receiving any kind of education and was enrolled in the non-formal education classes. She is also receiving MHPSS sessions with the Psychologists to support her with her traumas. The family was also provided with cash-based assistance to support the mother to pay rent and ensure the family could maintain a safe shelter.
The CESVI team referred the family to the IOM to receive food and non-food items, as well as medical checkups (primary health care for Shiraz), and the follow-up was conducted by CESVI through phone calls. When Shiraz’s mother was in the detention center, CESVI provided the mother's friend with cash assistance to support her to pay the rent and provide food. Once they received CBI, they had a sense of security as they were able to meet their basic needs.
When Shiraz started the non-formal education classes, she was afraid to join the classes and talk with anyone. Following her MHPSS sessions, she showed a big improvement in her self-confidence and behavior, and she started communicating better with the teacher and her classmates. Shiraz’s mother was released after 4 months of being captured, and she got to reunite with her mother and meet her little brother. At last, she became a happy, energetic child and also made friends.
Once Shiraz was enrolled in the non-formal educational program, the social worker noticed her passiveness; she seemed detached, and she wouldn’t talk or communicate with anyone. After she received PSS and MHPSS sessions, she became more comfortable, and she slowly gained the confidence to become more social. And when she started with the education program TBC at first, she couldn’t read or write, as this was her first time enrolling in an educational program, but now she’s able to read and write almost at this age.
After one and a half years, Shiraz’s father was reunited in Libya with the family and now they all live together. The father has started working as a laborer however, it is casual work and he only works one to two times per week which is not enough to ensure the family's needs are met. Sheraz said
“it’s always fun in here; I love all my teachers and friends."