Human Rights

First workshop provides psychological care for women in Zuwarah, Libya

North Africa

The Sukun Centre for Psychological Care in Zuwarah is helping women deal with negative social phenomena in their communities.

In the port city of Zuwarah, which is located in western Libya near the Tunisian border, a team of psychologists and social workers carried out the first workshop at the “Sukun Centre for Psychological Care,” which is a place where women can discuss issues pertaining to mental health with a group of specialists and other local women.

The aim is to surface outcomes, recommendations and solutions concerning psychological issues, as well as raise awareness of such issues in the local community.

Alongside general discussion on psychological issues, the women who attended the first workshop, which was called “Sukun Taught me,” also listened to a lecture about female teachers who provide education to young children.

“We formed a workshop, named “Sukun Taught Me”, under the supervision of psychologists and social workers to discuss the positive and negative social phenomena in the community,” said Najah al-Dawakh, a specialist in social affairs.

“This is the first forum we’re participating in and its name is “Sukun Taught Me,” said Samar Abu al-Saud, a psychologist at the Sukun Centre. “Today, the target group was kindergarten teachers, some of whom came from Zuwarah city.”

Cultural and societal life in Zuwara has changed considerably over the past seven years since the ousting of former leader Muammer Gaddafi, especially for women, as well as the local Amazigh population, who for a long time were identified as Arabs and their language considered a dialect.

Under Gaddafi’s 1973 ‘cultural revolution,’ which was launched from Zuwara, non-Arab names were forbidden, Amazigh organisations were outlawed and anyone promoting Amazigh culture was prosecuted.

While the city after 2011 has become a prominent location for smugglers transporting people into Europe, the reemergence of Amazigh culture and the growing role of women in local society, as demonstrated by the activities of the Sukun Centre, is a sign of the changing landscape in the coastal city.

The women at the Sukun Centre hope that this is first of many more workshops to come, which will be held on other issues concerning psychology and women’s role in society.