The women and children of Syria’s widow camps: Hardest to reach, most at risk

Authored by: Delphine Valette and Alexandra Matei

Categories: Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Syria
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2022
Citation: Valette, Delphine and Alexandra Matei. "The women and children of Syria’s widow camps: Hardest to reach, most at risk." World Vision. April 2022.

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Executive Summary

This new report investigates the impacts of the Syrian war in some of the hardest-to-reach places. It focuses on the so-called “widow camps”, home to tens of thousands of widows and other single women – including women who are divorced or whose husbands are missing – and their children, living in the 28 accessible camps across northwest Syria (NW Syria).

These women and their children wake up every day under constant threat of violence with no means to earn a living and no access to basic services – the rights of girls in particular are being compromised, including denial of their right to education. Movement restrictions drastically impact their lives. In contrast to other displaced women in general internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, women in widow camps do not have the right to move freely and are unable to work to support themselves and their children. In some cases, the women in these camps choose to take their own lives when faced with overwhelming levels of deprivation, stress and desperation.