Leena* is a 20-year-old woman from the south of Iraq. Sadly, she lost her mother at a young age and her father died in a bombing when she was a child. Having lost both parents at such an early age, she was forced to live with her relatives.

The next nine years of her life, Leena was physically and emotionally abused by her relatives. Her days consisted of constant punishments. Her behavior was perceived as a violation of her relatives’ religion and culture, and she was forbidden to complete her education. After her relatives wanted to marry her off, Leena ran away.

She arrived in the Kurdistan Region alone. She was vulnerable, helpless and lonely, with only a few friends she had met on social media. Not having a place to live, she would constantly move from one friend’s house to another’s. After receiving the referral just days after her arrival, SEED’s team met with Leena, completed a comprehensive assessment of her needs, created a safety plan, helped her find a job, safe housing, and obtain emergency funding.

Leena is enjoying work and looking into opportunities to complete her education. She is continuing to attend psychotherapy sessions with SEED’s psychologist because, as she explains, “Regardless of my suffering and everything I’ve lost, I just want to rebuild my life.”

*Name and minor details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.
PHOTO: Raz Xaidan / The Darling Beast