As a teenaged girl, Aya lost both of her parents to the Iraq war. Orphaned and alone, she sought refuge with a local family. Instead, she was subject to years of excruciating abuse at the hands of her adopted parents.
Now, Aya refuses to be silent. She has lived in OWFI’s shelter for a year, and regularly attends political awareness and empowerment meetings. Even though she was detained and tortured by intelligence officials for being a vocal activist for Iraqi women’s human rights, Aya has not swayed in her conviction. She continues to advocate for just policies for women and the exposure of human rights violations. Aya’s courageous journey from survivor of abuse to political activists inspires us all.
MADRE works with the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), to meet the urgent needs of survivors of gender-based violence; offering women threatened with violence the means and social support to escape danger and begin to build a new life.
Currently, OWFI maintains three MADRE-supported critical shelters for women targeted for honor killing, survivors of domestic violence, runaways from forced prostitution rings and more. Since 2009, the shelters have served as safe haven for over 60 women fleeing violence and oppression.