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Tala's Story

In June 2015 towards the end of the school year, I went to the library to buy some gifts for my students. On my way there, I was caught by the regime forces and detained for 10 days. 

Before all of this, my family and I lived happily together. I’m a university graduate and worked as a teacher for six years. I had many friends and was a social person. Then, our neighbors’ house was bombed and demolished. 

I chose to stay in Syria because of my connection to my students, but we all urged my father to relocate. But because my father was elderly, it was hard for him. So he stayed, and my brother, elder sister and her seven daughters insisted on staying with him. 

My sister, brother and father passed away from the bombing and shelling on our house.

Once I was released from detainment, they imposed a one-month travel restriction on me, and I couldn’t leave the country. My mother and the sisters who survived the bombing had already fled to Jordan, so after waiting 30 days for the travel restriction to be removed, I fled to Jordan to follow my surviving family right away. 

When I arrived, I had to stay at the Jordan-Syria border for 40 days. Then, I was sent to a refugee camp for two months. After those two months, I moved to Jerash city, then to Amman. This is when I learned about CVT from a friend. After seeing how devastated I was over what I experienced during detainment and death of my family members, she told me her story and said I should visit CVT. 

I took her advice and connected with CVT. I stayed in shock for three days after I was released from detention, and I knew I was the best person to help myself – so I took care of myself. But initially when I came to CVT, I was introverted and was discreet about the events and atrocities I was exposed to during my detention. 

The CVT facilitators understood this and built trust with us in the sessions. They assured us everything they said would remain confidential. They knew we wanted privacy and promoted the concept of having privacy with each group member. They told us what it meant to speak freely/freedom of speech. 

We figured out this was the right place, a safe place to open up about what was in our hearts.” 

As time passed, I started to find the sessions to be fun. They increased the level of my self-confidence; the facilitators helped me elevate my self-confidence and helped me speak loudly about what I witnessed without feeling judged. 

CVT’s sessions helped with my physical pain as well. I had a permanent headache and acute pain in my hands as a result of the trauma from dealing with the deaths of my family: my father, brother and sister. CVT not only taught me how to carry this burden, but joined me in carrying it. 

Healing is a sigh of relief, it’s a peace of mind, state of mind.”

CVT has shown me the art of finding solutions to my life issues, how to manage my anger, how to act in difficult situations and how to be a wise person in a time of difficulties. I changed dramatically in terms of my mental health. I do not avoid going to the doctor and continue to improve my symptoms through physiotherapy. CVT has improved my interpersonal communications too. I can speak about my story to anyone who is trustworthy; I’m no longer a timid person. 

I was devastated back then and I thought it was the end, until CVT helped me. After getting through all the atrocities I experienced, I’m able to pass on what I’ve learned to others who need support.” 

I now work as an admin assistant volunteer at UNICEF, serve as a volunteer at a school for Syrian children refugees, started providing training courses on sexual harassment,and I’ve become a well known educator among the Syrian refugees. 

Iman taught me so many techniques, and I’ve taken them and transferred the knowledge to my students, parents of my students and other teachers. They were pleased with what they learned and shared it with their own children and spouses. 

I have gone through very difficult situations, starting with the war, to the deaths of my family members to the 40 days at the border. And, I still have goals I’m working towards: I am newly married and want to have a baby. My mother is now in a wheelchair following a stroke,and I’d like to support her. I have a sister who is still stuck in Syria that I’d like to bring here, and I want to chase my dream of resettlement. 

Even with all of that and everything I’ve been through, I have hope in life – I got up and removed the dust. I am always looking to acquire new knowledge. An example of this is my current agricultural project, which is focused on planting and providing fruits, vegetables and trees using less water. 

Though this style is not new, I was doing a different style of agriculture in Syria. Learning about the worldwide water shortage, seeing how this style is truly an art form and how using methods without chemicals appeal to the public all led to and maintained my interest. 

Originally when I began the project, funded by a humanitarian NGO, I was with 20 other volunteers, but most of them dropped out due to COVID. I remained, and have now received a certificate in this style of agriculture.

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