Charaf is a member of the Association of Syrian Writers. After graduating from the University of Damascus in 2003 as a medical technician, she worked in a women’s prison and in a police medical laboratory.
She received death threats for attempts to reveal information about violations of prisoner rights. She also taught English to children who had no chance to get any formal education because of the war hostilities.
Unable to cope with the enormous stress, which was further compounded by her status of a divorcee, Charaf started to pursue a literary career, in which she encountered the problems of censorship.
Her volume of poetry The Remains of Butterfly, published in 2016, met with high critical acclaim.
Kraków, a member of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), has offered her accommodation, a grant and conditions to work and study Polish culture for a period of two years.
Charaf has told journalists that Kraków is her new home, in which she wants to complete her work on three books, another collection of verse, a book of memoirs, and an academic study on the motif of the tragic hero in modern Syrian poetry.
The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an independent organisation of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists who are especially vulnerable to censorship, harassment, imprisonment and even death, because of what they do.
ICORN cities have hosted more than 130 persecuted writers and artists since 2005.
Kraków joined the organisation in 2011, the first city in Central and Eastern Europe to do so.
It has since offered temporary shelter to writers from North Ossetia, Egypt, Iran, Belarus, Turkey, Congo and Libya.
Two other Polish cities, Wrocław and Gdańsk, are also members of ICORN.