From Where I Stand: “Now I can walk the streets alone.”
Date: Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Naema Khamis is a young woman volunteering in Imbaba, Giza with UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) programme to raise awareness on gender equality and women’s empowerment. In her path to help her community and the people around her, Naema has also learned to be more confident and to protect her rights and safety.
“The biggest challenge I faced when volunteering with the Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) programme is changing my family’s traditional beliefs and ideologies. But I managed to overcome this challenge and I changed how they perceive women and gender equality. I even managed to convince my brother to join as a volunteer too.
At first, my parents completely refused that I travel with the programme because they did not even believe that I could spend the night anywhere outside my house. Thankfully, the programme manager helped me convince them successfully and I was able to travel and attend the programme’s trainings.
One of the trainings that I attended was the self-defense training and it made a huge difference in my life. At first, I used to be very scared to walk alone on the streets and I either had to hold my mother’s hand tightly or I had to have my brother with me. However, the self-defense training helped me overcome my fear and it gave me confidence and a feeling of safety – now I can walk the streets alone.
My biggest achievement as a programme volunteer is how I managed to help people and create a difference in their lives. I always wanted to create change but I didn’t know how to, and the EVAW programme has helped me achieve that.”
Naema Khamis has joined the Ending Violence against Women programme in August 2017. Youth volunteers are one of the main active players in the programme and its objective of raising awareness of gender equality and women’s empowerment in communities. Different creative methodologies are used to raise awareness, such as interactive theater, sports days, art therapy, and self-defense training. Mohamed is a volunteer in the interactive theater and sports days activities.
This programme is implemented by UN Women in partnership with The National Council for Women, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, CARE International in Egypt, and five local NGOs in the intervention areas, and with the generous support of USAID/Egypt.
Naema’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal 5 that aims to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres.
Read in Arabic.