From where I stand: “When your aspirations are strong enough, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals”
20 June 2021
Nofa Ali Shadeh, 33, mother of five,is enrolled in the UN Women’s Oasis center in the Azraq refugee camp, which provides life-sustaining assistance to Syrian refugees through a holistic approach to women’s economic and social empowerment, and protection – specifically access to education and skills development.
This initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Government of Japan through the ’Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection in Crisis Response’ (LEAP) programme.
Nofa speaks personally to her experience:
"Five years ago, I left Syria with my husband and five children looking for a better life. We spent four months at the border between Syria and Jordan before arriving to the Azraq refugee camp. While we were eager to settle down, it was difficult to find employment opportunities.
As I used to be a housewife, I had no previous work experience. My husband decided to continue providing for our family and found a job in the construction sector outside the camp. I looked after my children and did housework. However, this was not enough to cover for our needs. Life was like a blind alley.
I received a training in tailoring through another organization and I decided to enroll in the Oasis center to support my family financially. Most importantly, I wanted to learn. Though I did not have extensive experience in tailoring, I was given the opportunity to work in the cutting department, supporting the production of baby kits.
Joining the Oasis helped improving my skills and it greatly reduced the financial stress we witnessed in the past years. I was able to buy household appliances, clothes for my children, and even a mobile phone to stay in contact with my family and friends. I also met other women, who have now become an important support system in my everyday life.
I felt I grew a lot. I learned how to manage my time and balance between work and family. I find myself to be more independent. I am no longer shy to express my opinions and I have become more involved in the family decision-making.
From my experience, I can say this goes beyond gaining an income. I cannot stress enough the importance education plays in our life. It opens more opportunities and can lead to economic empowerment. My wish is for everyone in the camp community to have the chance to learn, work in places like the Oasis, and help each other to overcome their hardships. When your aspirations are strong enough, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.”
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women