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Matar is a non-governmental organization working inside Syria to give psychological, social and economic support for women and children in the current Syrian. Founded in September 2011, Matar provides safe spaces for women to engage in income generating activity and for internally displaced children to continue their education.
The current conflict in Syria has taken a heavy toll. As of June 2013 at least 70,000 Syrians have been killed according to the United Nations. More than 4 million Syrians are internally displaced according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Thousands of families have lost their husbands and fathers, thousands of women have become widows. Along with the deep trauma this inflicts on a country and a family, huge numbers of people have been left with no source of income and are desperate.
Matar aims to address this by providing a source of income and psycho-social support for families with a member of the family killed or imprisoned in the current conflict. Most women in Syria are economically reliant on their husbands or male family members. Therefore widows are particularly vulnerable to destitution. Also, along with psychological and economic pressures a number of social pressures exist for widows in Syria. Social convention can dictate that a widowed woman may not live on her own, but neither may she stay with her husband’s family, if there is an unmarried brother-in-law in the house. Some women are therefore forced to move back to the house of their birth family or of their brothers, And exposed to the pressure to remarry, and are thereby exposed to the risk of forced marriage.
By encouraging self-reliance and providing psycho-social support Matar aims to break this cycle.