Rescue program in Switzerland

Our actions

Medical, psychological, social and economic support for women facing death threats and for whom the protection measures are not sufficient to ensure their safety in their country of origin.

The program

Surgir assists beneficiaries in the process of obtaining a humanitarian visa for Switzerland. Once in Switzerland, Surgir has the mission of providing the necessary conditions for the rehabilitation and integration of people. In collaboration with relevant government agencies of the canton of Vaud, as well as the network of associations, different psychosocial, legal, medical and socio-economic support measures are set up so that newly arrived persons can envision a serene and steady future in Switzerland.

Our activities

All measures are adjusted according to the individual case and needs of the beneficiary with the aim of their integration in Switzerland:

1) Coverage of basic needs: housing, food, travel expenses;

2) Psychological support;

3) Medical care;

4) Analysis of the financial situation, the competences and the wishes of the person in order to design a viable professional project suitable to the labor market;

5) Language course;

6) Cultural activities.


Sabrina's case

Sabrina and her mother need you

Sabrina and her mother need you. Sabrina is a 10-year-old girl. Victim of her father’s violence from early childhood, she has survived two abductions and two attempted murders. Her mother, also victim of her husband’s extreme violence, has done everything to protect her. After a complicated divorce, she won full custody of her daughter. In order for this to happen, she had to fight in the courts of her country* and file a complaint against her husband for the abuses of her daughter and the multiple abductions. Despite the fact that the justice department admitted the misconduct and decided in favor of the mother, Sabrina is still in danger. On a number of occasions, the father tries to kill them. One night, he fires more than 60 shots of Kalashnikov at Sabrina and her mother’s house. They miraculously survive, hidden in the bathroom. Another time, the father kidnaps Sabrina, surrounds her body with explosives and threatens to kill her if her mother does not drop the divorce. 

In this country, the law allows the father to have exclusive parental authority over his children, even when he loses custody due to abuses. Convicted of attempted murder of her daughter and ex-wife, he is imprisoned for 8 months. After his release, he continues to threaten them with death. Traumatized and in continued insecurity, fleeing is the only way to keep them safe.

Her mother resorts to asylum in Switzerland. But Sabrina cannot leave the country. She does not have a passport and only her father can make the request. She is therefore hidden in a convent by her mother who promises to come back for her as soon as possible.

The Surgir Foundation accompanied Sabrina’s mother through the procedures to acquire residency in Switzerland, as well as family reunification and a pass so that Sabrina can come and join her in Switzerland. 

But the suffering does not end there…

Laws unfavorable to women: an ongoing violence

In March 2021, while her mother returns to her country of origin to get her daughter and bring her to Switzerland, she finds out that the father was granted a ban from the authorities which prohibited Sabrina to leave the country. Despite the intervention of Swiss authorities, Sabrina is therefore not allowed to take the plane with her mother and cannot benefit from the right to abode in Switzerland. In their country, there is no civil justice for marriage, divorce or child custody. These issues are addressed by the religious justice systems, often unfavorable to women. The situation is tragic, she cannot be with her mother who has always provided for Sabrina’s needs, protected her, educated her, surrounded her with love. Instead, her father, who has already tried to kill her multiple times, will he have the right and the power to ruin her life, with complete impunity?

Sabrina still has a chance to escape this unfair fate and live safely with her mother in Switzerland with your support and that of Surgir. We would like to engage with a lawyer specialized in the rights of women and children in their country. Based on the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, we will demonstrate that it is in Sabrina’s best interest to be with her mother. Her survival is at stake. Even if the necessary steps will take time, we are CONVINCED that we can win this fight. It is a solid case with numerous and undisputable supporting evidence.

Why do we need your help? 

We need your help for:

  • Engaging with a lawyer to represent Sabrina’s interests in order to lift the ban of her leaving the country.
  • Enable Sabrina and her mother to provide for their basic needs: food and shelter while waiting for the court to deliver its verdict.
  • Protect Sabrina and her mother from further violence.
  • Educate Sabrina. She has not been able to go to school for over a year.

We need your help in order to reunite Sabrina with her mother!


Avenue Louis-Ruchonnet 3,
1003 Lausanne

Phone: 0041 21 311 27 31

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