News / Middle East

Syrian Female-Headed Refugee Families Struggle to Survive

FILE - A Syrian refugee woman hangs laundry at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Majdal Anjar, Lebanon, June 19, 2014.FILE - A Syrian refugee woman hangs laundry at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Majdal Anjar, Lebanon, June 19, 2014.
x
FILE - A Syrian refugee woman hangs laundry at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Majdal Anjar, Lebanon, June 19, 2014.
FILE - A Syrian refugee woman hangs laundry at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Majdal Anjar, Lebanon, June 19, 2014.
Lisa Schlein

A new survey indicates more than 145,000 Syrian refugee families are headed by women who are struggling to make ends meet.  The survey carried out by the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan reports these households are caught in a spiral of poverty, isolation and fear. 

The survey indicates one in four Syrian women who have been forced to flee their homes are faced with the grim prospect of spending their lives in exile alone, without a husband who can help care for them and their families.

This situation would be difficult under any circumstances.  But, it is particularly hard for Syrian refugee women who come from a very traditional, conservative society - a society in which a woman without a man has no status and is treated as an outcast by her community.

UNHCR chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told VOA women are traumatized and extremely anxious about how they will live and be able to support their families alone in a foreign country.

“Their biggest anxiety was about money, resources.  They also felt very isolated - frightened to move around, out of the house.  They felt vulnerable to harassment, vulnerable to attacks by men.  So, it is the climate of being a refugee in many cases is extremely worrying and very tough,” she said. 

The UNHCR report is based on the personal testimony of 135 women over a three-month period early this year.  The survey indicates the vast majority of Syrian refugees in the region do not live in camps, which would provide them with a safer environment, regular food and other assistance.  

Instead, it said, they live in towns and cities, in dilapidated shelters and garages, and in rooms rented at exorbitant prices.  It said only one-fifth of refugee women have paid work and many find it hard to get a job.  It said many women face exploitation, are vulnerable to rape, sexual abuse and other forms of intimidation and harassment.  

Syrian Refugees by Country

  • Lebanon: 1,120,518
  • Turkey: 799,291
  • Jordan 605,660
  • Iraq: 220,210
  • Egypt: 138,245

Source: UNHCR

 

The report noted only one-fifth of the Syrian women receive support from other adult relatives and one-third of those surveyed said they do not have enough to eat.

Fleming said many female-headed households that cannot make ends meet are forced to choose between sending their children to school or out to work.

“This is also another huge worry for these women.  First of all, their children have seen things that no child should ever see back home in Syria during the war.  They come out.  They are traumatized.  They have lost friends.  And, the thing that they all want most is for that child to heal and to go back to school.  But, they cannot afford to send that child back to school.  So, they send their child out and think hopefully this is temporary-to work.  Unfortunately, children are also exploited.  They are not paid very much and they are working long hours,” said Fleming.

Since the beginning of the year, the U.N. refugee agency reports it has been registering 100,000 new Syrian refugees every month.  At this rate, it said, it expects the number of Syrian refugees to grow from the current 2.8 million to 3.6 million by the end of the year.  

UNHCR's Melissa Fleming said the explosion of Syrian refugees means more female-headed households will be in need of care and protection.  On the basis of this survey, she says, her agency will work harder to identify vulnerable families and offer them critical assistance.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Borba
July 09, 2014 10:23 AM
Good Luck women refugee Syria

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid