Finally, A Place Where I Feel Seen

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Finally, A Place Where I Feel Seen

Operation Mercy Iraq offers regular fitness classes for up to 70 Syrian refugee women, providing a space for them to exercise, build relationships and be encouraged.

The fitness classes have an impact on the participants' physical, emotional and relational wellbeing. Some of them share how exercising has helped them lose weight and regain energy. For many of them, gathering to exercise is the time they look forward to most in their week, and many of the ladies have become more connected and feel part of a community through the project.

After class, the women often sit down together and share something from their lives, with our staff asking them questions.


“A moment in my life, where I felt very weak?” Dilcan looked at me and the ladies at the end of our fitness session. And then she started to tell us about her dream as a child: “I always wanted to become an architect. But the financial situation of our family forced me to work early in the morning, before going to school. Actually, I was supposed to be at school at 7, but because of my work I was late every morning, sometimes I wasn’t able to come until 9.30. The teacher then was already waiting at the door with a stick in her hand in order to beat my hands. I felt so helpless and weak every time and nobody cared.”


She had hidden this painful memory until now. She shared that for her, this program has become a place where she finally feels seen and is able to share what’s inside of her. She now feels connected to and emotionally supported by the community through the project in a physically active and fun way.

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Operation Mercy is registered with an external organization that ensures quality control of donation management.