32-year-old Suad Mohammed Ghazi Baker is a social worker and resident of Al Remal neighborhood in the Gaza Strip. She is single and lives with her family of four members.
Suad has worked as a social worker in several projects implemented by Women’s Affairs Center (WAC), including one supported by the oPt Humanitarian Fund in 2018, which focused on promoting prevention and protection responses to women survivors of gender-based violence in the Gaza Strip.
"I chose to be a social worker and engage in humanitarian work because I love helping others. I want to be part of changing Palestinian society for the better and improving the conditions of people’s lives, through improved psycho-social health.”
"One day, after I had just finished a workshop, a woman approached me, complaining that she suffered from sexual violence,” Suad said. “I listened to her story, and I met with her several times. Then, I used a number of strategies to diagnose the case. It was vital for me to fully understand the situation in details.”
Women social workers in Gaza face many challenges, according to Baker. These include some of the customs and traditions prevalent in targeted areas that restrict women’s participation in activities, be they mothers, wives, sisters, or daughters; the overall patriarchal culture; and a misunderstanding of what is included in psychological support, which is often confused with economic aid.
“The first step in my intervention was to provide the chance for the women to release her stress. I referred her to a psychiatrist, but she refused due to her cultural background. So, I referred her case to WAC in order to follow up with her and provide the needed individual psychological support. After several sessions, the survivor improved and started to accept herself. She went back to school. Even after the end of the project, I kept in touch with her to provide her with more support as needed.”
“My success in this field has motivated me to continue providing support for women, as I see tangible results coming from my efforts,” Suad said. “I have witnessed how different women's situation has improved gradually, as a result of the support I have provided."