The Azadi Project

Our Programs

Athens, Greece

September 2018

Workshop on digital skills: multimedia storytelling and video production for refugee women

The Azadi Project’s inaugural workshop was held in Athens to provide digital livelihood skills to women refugees. The aim was to provide employability skills along with a safe space for women to share, come together and control their own narrative. The workshop was done in partnership with The Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD) which is a joint collaboration between the School of Law of the University of Bologna and the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy (SAIS Europe) and the Melissa Network, a network for migrant women in Greece, promoting empowerment, communication and active citizenship.

The first class of Azadi participants were seven extraordinary women from Afghanistan, Iran and Palestine. Each participant had a unique story and passion. They worked during the entire workshop in teams and individually to produce their own video story. Each video is moving and very personal.

The participants acquired skills of scripting, filming, video editing and website designing – a 360-degree multimedia vision. After the workshop, Azadi connected the participants with organizations for internships, advanced professional training and employment opportunities, facilitating their integration. Program participants were trained in best practices for digital content producers. They learnt to engage with video, digital photography, audio recordings, and possess the tools and storytelling skills to produce, edit and post content online across all social media platforms.

Athens, Greece

September 2018

Workshop on multimedia storytelling and community radio for migrants

This workshop was done in collaboration with the International Republican Institute.

Our participants were ten migrant returnees in Niamey. By providing entrepreneurial multimedia and radio storytelling skills to returning migrants and then securing them internships at local radio stations, we helped our participants build their agency to reintegrate and reenter the labor market by using their newly acquired digital expertise. By providing them with skills to tell their own individual stories we also enabled them to to take control of their own narratives and counter the stereotypical narrative of migrants.

Meet Biba Souley, who attended this workshop

She couldn’t go to school but today she is on the radio. Biba Souley, a migrant returnee in Niger says that if there were opportunities and jobs in her country, she would never leave Niger and go to a new country to be treated as a slave. “Why would anyone risk their life if it wasn’t out of dire necessity?”, says Biba, a 35-year-old single mother of five children who made the journey through the Sahara desert to Libya. During Azadi’s digital media workshop, she learned skills such as storytelling, public speaking, radio programming, video and social media to share her personal story of survival. Through sessions of art therapy she learned how to draw strength from her traumatic past and transform it in productive ways. Within a week, Biba was able to share the story of her journey in Libya with confidence on different channels. Ultimately, Biba was invited by a local radio station to air her story and share her experience with community members, further creating awareness about what compels people to migrate and the risks associated with migration.

Athens, Greece

September 2018

Digital storytelling skills and mental health support for women refugee living in the Moria camp

This program was done in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee, Women in Solidarity House (WISH) and was supported by the UNHCR Greece. All women participants of The Azadi Project Workshop in Lesbos had experienced trauma through violence both inside their houses and outside on the streets in war-torn Afghanistan, forcing them to flee their home country. They were being retraumatized because of unsafe living conditions in Moria, Europe’s biggest refugee camp. Through the art of storytelling, photography, yoga and psychosocial support sessions with professional psychologists, the refugee women were taught to channel their fear, depression, anxiety, and hopes into stories they wanted to share with the world. The participants learnt to ideate, script, film and edit their own videos.

All participants from Afghanistan participated in group therapy sessions for resilience building, facilitated by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and individual online counseling sessions with Dr Foojan Zeine, a certified psychotherapist based in Los Angeles.

Moria camp, Lesvos, Greece

March - December 2020

Pandemic Support: providing life-saving hygiene kits and sensitization on covid-hygiene management

As the Covid-19 pandemic raged through the world in 2020, for refugees living in the Moria camp in Greece survival became harder than ever. With most nonprofit organizations and aid agencies forced to shut operations in Moria, refugees were struggling for basic necessities. The Azadi Project partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Becky’s Bathhouse to provide refugee families with targeted interventions to protect their health during the pandemic. Over 1,300 refugees were sensitized on covid hygiene management and over 50,000 hygiene products were distributed during the lockdown. The Azadi Project also trained and equipped the team of volunteers for this Covid-19 and menstruation hygiene management campaign in the Moria camp. We adopted an inclusive approach, targeting men and youth to promote gender equity.

Lesvos, Greece

March 2021

Azadi-Lean In circles to provide leadership skills and psychosocial support to women refugees

The Azadi Project, in partnership with LeanIn.Org and with the support of Sheryl Sandberg, Founder of LeanIn.Org and Rachel Thomas, co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.Org, implemented the first Lean In Circles for refugee women on International Women’s Day 2021 in the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos. Women from Moria met biweekly for social support and friendship in Azadi’s safe, welcoming space outside the camp. In addition to being able to share their experiences and access the support they need, these women were also provided with essential leadership skills. Azadi-Lean In Circles served as a gateway for women, who needed additional support, to access private, individual counseling with certified remote psychologists.

Pioneering a unique model, the proposed project was the first of its kind to integrate in-person/group, online/individual, and local counseling resources into a seamless process to meet the psychosocial support needs of refugee women.

If you are interested to see the results of our programs in Greece please check this report.

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

September 2021

Rohingya refugees awareness building and sensitization on gender-based violence, child marriage and health issues including mental health.

The Azadi Project partnered with Rokeya Foundation in Bangladesh to carry out a storytelling, leadership and psychosocial support program from September 2021 December 2021. Using a Training of Trainers (ToT) model, a total of 100 beneficiaries – 75 Rohingya women and 25 Rohingya men – participated in the program in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. The workshop sensitized the participants about gender-based violence, trafficking, child marriage and created women and men leaders within the refugee camp to disseminate this knowledge further. The program was funded by the Nobel Women’s Initiative.


Yemen, Online workshop

December 2021

Virtual Storytelling Program

The Azadi Project conducted a six-month virtual storytelling program to train members of Peace Track Initiative (PTI), a foundation that aims at localizing and feminizing the peace process through promoting inclusion and enhancing feminist knowledge leadership in the Middle East and North Africa with focus on Yemen. Similar to the Cox’s Bazar program, this follows a ToT (Training of Trainers) model as well. Twelve Yemeni migrant women leaders from PTI were trained in storytelling skills to build knowledge products and multimedia tools for advocacy.They in turn would conduct the training in their communities. Most importantly, the aim was to teach participants to use their stories as an advocacy tool to further women participation in the dialogue for peace process.

New Delhi, India

June 2022

Rohingya refugees awareness building and sensitization on gender-based violence, child marriage and health issues including mental health.

The Azadi Project partnered with Ummid Ki Udan in New Delhi to carry out a storytelling, leadership and psychosocial support program from May 2022 – June 2022. During phase 1, a trained female group facilitator held five sessions for 15 Rohingya refugee women and local community women who currently reside in New Delhi, in Khadar (Κanchan Κunj, Shram Vihar).

The workshop focused on the art of storytelling and its therapeutic benefits, by creating a safe space for the beneficiaries to interact in. Through this, it aimed to sensitize and create awareness about gender-based violence, trafficking, child marriage, women’s health and hygiene issues and create women and men leaders within the refugee camp to disseminate this knowledge further.

Krakow, Poland

June 2022

Psychosocial support program for Ukrainian women refugees

As many Ukrainian women, most of them mothers, fled the war with their children, Poland became one of the neighboring countries to host most refugees from there.Most of them having experienced trauma were in need of psychosocial support. The Azadi Project’s PSS program hosted weekly psychosocial support sessions conducted by a certified Ukrainian therapist in a safe space in the center of Krakow. This was modeled around self-help support groups. The program was based on therapy and coaching techniques and strategies. The facilitators were responsible for fostering discussions among a participant group of no more than 10-12 women.

In this setting, women are free to attend and share stories, anxieties, fears, or struggles with other participants and the facilitators or to just listen to other attendees. With this model participants control the amount of information they share and their narrative. They are also given tools and strategies by our therapist on how to cope with anxiety, unprocessed grief and anger. The program was done in collaboration with the JCC (Jewish Community Center).

Individual therapy was offered to women who were dealing with more severe problems. More detailed information and donation campaign can be found here

In June 2022, we also partnered with the Nobel Women’s Initiative to host three women Nobel laureates in Poland on World Refugee Day to raise awareness about the condition of Ukrainian women refugees and local feminist organizations.

We partnered with Rethinking Refugees to organize and host India’s first-ever event focusing solely on refugee and statelessness issues. The four-day event (December 15-18, 2022) included panel discussions by renowned experts and activists, charity performances, a photo exhibition, and more. The event, ‘Rethinking Refugees – Azadi to co-exist’, was a mix of in-person and online sessions that promoted a holistic understanding of the contemporary refugee situation worldwide and in India.

For more information please refer to the press release (link)

Findings from the Nobel peace laureates’ delegation to Poland and Ukraine 

20-24 June 2022 organized in partnership with the Nobel Women’s Initiative