THE SFW STORY
In 2013 our founder, Rola El Chami had returned from Palestine and Jordan, where she worked with an international NGO supporting communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and in refugee camps across the Middle East; that she eventually ended up in Dubai. She found herself in a difficult situation where she wanted to be back at work where she could make a difference and, in the field, supporting others – something she was not able to achieve in Dubai at the time.
After a while, Rola entered the metropolitan lifestyle, worked with a PR agency, and represented a range of different international renown clients. Between work and social life, she continued her research on refugees, women, and children with a focus on domestic violence in the Middle East as well as making hand-made bracelets as a hobby.
Through research, she found is that gender violence manifests essentially as violence against women, and it is one of the most significant epidemics in the Middle East today. We have seen the numbers of domestic abuse rise significantly across the region and in any given time of any conflict or a pandemic, the most people to be effected and that are vulnerable, are women.
What she discovered further in her journey throughout speaking to women across the region, was that the two main factors why Arab women (specifically) remain in abusive relationships are due to three main factors;
Education: some women live in an environment where violence is perceived as "normal" and women are subjected to accepting this factor. On the other hand, many women are simply not aware of the mental abuse traits and would not realise that they are being mentally abused.
Fear: The fear of leaving, fear of societal judgement, fear for the safety of their child/children and fear of the unknown.
Financial independence: Even though we live in a day and age where we see a number of Arab women enter the workforce is increasing; this is still sadly only a fraction of those who remain home and depend on their husbands to financially support them.
Individual impact can go a long way, something we have seen first-hand and we continue to work with individual survivors of domestic abuse in the Middle East to support them through our Survive for Women platform.
The idea of selling bracelets and in return whereby you become a supporter of a bigger cause came from when several people within my network expressed interest in purchasing the bracelets. Rola decided that she would sell them, and the profit would go to women she personally knew at the time who suffered from domestic abuse by their partners…and that is how Survive for Women was born!