A forty-four-year-old Faiza from Mosul amazes others with her confidence, positive outlook, and desire to inspire fellow women. IOM

By Olga Borzenkova - The International Organization for Migration IOM Iraq

“I discovered that I could benefit from bad circumstances and turn them into opportunities and find a reason to move forward, and to endure and challenge myself.”

A forty-four-year-old Faiza* from Mosul amazes others with her confidence, positive outlook, and desire to inspire fellow women.

It was not always like this. The burn scars on Faiza’s skin tell a story of the trauma she endured and the battles she had to fight in silence for 11 years. Beneath her confident smile today there is a story shaped by the echoes of violence that once seemed overwhelming.

Faiza once harbored simple dreams of a happy family. At seventeen, she married and had three children, but her marital bliss was shattered as her husband subjected her to physical violence, leaving her with severe burns from their last fight. She had had enough.

“I decided to get a divorce,” says Faiza, her voice steady with determination.

Isolated by her community, a single mother with three children to raise without a stable income and burn scars to accept, Faiza had to take in a lot with no one on her side to rely on.

Fortunately, support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) arrived when she needed it most. Through IOM's assistance for survivors of violence against women and girsl, she received one-on-one support from a case worker, who provided her with psychosocial support and referred her to a few other service various providers who could support her with remaining needs.

Since October 2023, 37 violence survivors have benefitted from IOM’s case management support based on a survivor-centered approach. Photo is for illustrative purposes: IOM 2024/Raber Aziz

"I began to feel confident and positive," she explains, reflecting on her transformation.

With newfound resilience, she rebuilt relationships with her children after a long period of emotional instability, stress, and nervousness. The next brick in building back her life when her case worker referred her to the IOM’s graduation approach programme. Here, she received a scholarship, essential training on how to start a business, and was given a cash grant, which allowed her to have a stable income.                            

“I have become a mother that my children can be proud of.”

Full of energy, and equipped with new skills, Faiza now aspires to a career as an inspector or nurse, driven by a desire to inspire other women:

“I am proud to be a role model and an example for others. I want other women who are survivors of violence to speak up, not to be afraid, and ask for support.”

With the support of the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration, IOM helps women like Faiza recover through individualized case management support, psychosocial support, and referrals. Since October 2023, 37 survivors of violence against women and girls have received much-needed specialized case management through a survivor-centered approach that considers the survivors’ capacities and skills to increase their resilience and promotes their dignity, rights, agency and empowerment. Additionally, as part of this initiative, 13 survivors were referred to the IOM's graduation approach programme to contribute to their long-term recovery. .

*The name was changed to protect privacy.




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