Darna Centres Turkey Director
What is peace?
As long as there is violence [in a society] and you’re not safe, you can’t talk about peace. Peace is engaging a community and all its components in every process. Peace is free elections. Peace is real citizenship. Peace is respect, it’s justice. It’s when people can imagine a better future for their children, and it starts with education. Peace is when you have a place where you can express your feelings freely. It starts with democracy. It starts with the law.
Why are women essential to peacebuilding?
I believe that war is the hardest thing that can happen to a human being. But it’s also an opportunity for real change. Women’s roles have evolved a lot since 2011, and there are a lot of examples in Syria that show the impact that women have today. They are the breadwinner for their families and they have more responsibilities. They organize demonstrations and they participate in them. They build campaigns, they defend their rights. They are more able to resist and to face extremism.
Rand left her home in Syria along with her mother, husband and daughter when the conflict worsened in 2012. She sought refuge in Gaziantep, Turkey, where she manages community centres called Darna Centres - darna means home in Arabic - in Turkey and Syria.
The Darna Centres
The Darna Centres enable their members, especially women, to invest in their economic potential and provide them with the means to acquire the basic skills needed to find decent jobs. The organization aims to promote women’s economic autonomy, to lay the foundation for an egalitarian society and break the cycle of poverty. By offering women the tools to provide for their families with pride and dignity, women are able to improve their living conditions and become more resilient.