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“Room for Women” – Refugee and migrant girls and women share their stories in ADRA’s new publication

“Room for Women” – Refugee and migrant girls and women share their stories in ADRA’s new publication

[Photo courtesy of ADRA Serbia]

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ADRA`s publication “Room for Women” is a place where voices of refugee and migrant girls and women are heard. 

Today we join with ADRA in commemorating World Refugee Day. The number of people fleeing their home around the world is increasing every year, leaving them without home, security or ways to meet their basic needs. Girls and women among them make an especially vulnerable group and demand our additional attention while responding to their needs.

On behalf of ADRA Serbia, we are proud to share with you the efforts put towards better understanding the gender dimensions of experiences of refuge and present you our new study Room for Women and Girls: Female Voices from Refugees and Migrants in Serbia.

With this qualitative research, ADRA Serbia decided to take a step back and leave the floor to women and girls themselves, who became the narrating voices of their own life. Building on the experience gained while working hand-in-hand with migrant and refugee girls and women in ADRA’s Women’s Centre, and with the goal to highlight the importance of qualitative research, ADRA conducted a year-long research project examining how gender models the experiences of female migrant and refugees in Serbia.

For this purpose, a series of extensive semi-structured interviews and focus-group discussions were facilitated together with 91 refugee and migrant girls and women accommodated in Krnjača Asylum Centre in Belgrade, Serbia. The results were valuable insights into their everyday lives and hardships, but also highlighted to the agency the strengths they demonstrated. Over five chapters – Everyday Life in an Asylum Centre, Access to Education, Health and Well-Being, Safety and Gender-Based Violence, and Resilience and Empowerment – readers will have the chance to hear from refugees and migrant girls and women themselves about how they experience life in Serbia. Their stories are representative of many women in other countries. 

Finally, the study offers a non-exhaustive list of recommendations focused on promoting female voices, as this is one of the main goals of this study. However, as this research maps the many challenges refugee and migrant girls and women face in their everyday lives, the whole study can serve as a basis for service providers to address some of the mentioned gaps in their work.

As Biljana Maletin, Serbian activist and gender specialist, states in her forward for this study, “we can and we must” defend and protect the rights of these women and girls. Therefore, on this day, and with this research, we invite all of the actors working with refugee and migrant population to join this cause and stop to hear what the women and girls are telling them, because their voices count the most.

The study is available here: RoomForWomen_ENG

The article first appeared on adra.org.rs.