BEIRUT: Because every person deserves a brighter future, Intisars Foundation is the first initiative in the Middle East that supports women affected by wars.
Founded in 2018 by HH Sheikha Intisar AlSabah, Intisars Foundation is a humanitarian organization that provides psychological support to women with war induced trauma, anxiety, and depression. It currently operates in Shatila Camp, Lebanon, and in Jordan.
“Women are usually the last ones taken care of during and post war. If we empower them, they will be able to support themselves and their families. Thus, we will be empowering a whole community,” HH AlSabah told Annahar.
The aim of the organization is to train 500+ drama therapists to support and aid in the healing process of 1 million Arab women who have lived or are currently living in a war zone. The plan is due 20 years from now.
"As a person with a background in psychology, I know it is very difficult to find an approach that is both effective and caring enough to treat women affected by war," Sara Sakhi, Researcher and Coordinator at Intisars Foundation, said. “My experience with drama therapy has shown that it is a very successful psycho-social intervention.”
Drama therapy uses theatrical techniques to improve social skills, boost self-confidence, and achieve inner peace. It creates support among women and instills a sense of community.
According to Karima Anbar, the CEO of Intisars Foundation, the organization’s drama therapy program focuses on releasing tension through acting and character development as a form of storytelling.
“We have around 75 women enrolled in our program. We are planning on expanding and reaching more women,” Anbar told Annahar.
The organization provides group therapy of 12 weekly sessions over a period of three months. Each group consists of 20 women.
One of the training is heavily focused on an exercise titled “the life map.” Participants stand in front of a group and act out phases from their lives using the room as a space to express themselves. This therapeutic activity includes personal disclosure, narrative skills, and performance skills, according to Farah Wardani, drama therapist.
“When you relive moments from the past and connect those to the present, you start seeing the possibility of diverse endings and more endurable solutions,” Wardani told Annahar.
A participant told Annahar that despite remembering some very painful memories, she started feeling much better after joining the program.
“There are people here who listen to me and give me advice, they do not mock me or exploit me," she said.
The program have helped women overcome depression, anxiety, and trauma resulting from wars and post-migration conditions. It also created a sense of community among the participants and built a network of supportive and understanding peers, according to the founder.
“'Intisar' translates in English to victory. Let’s write a story together of how women in the face of adversity emerged victorious, a story of their victory; one for a better future," HH Intisar AlSabah said.
Welcome to “NAYA”, the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: [email protected]
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