Rana: Supporting Women in Idlib

 Syria
 Economic DevelopmentEmergency Response,
 27th May 2019

Rana is a 29-year-old Syrian woman from Homs. She is currently the Director of the Women Now Center in Idlib – one of the three CARE-supported centers in the governorate. In partnership with Women Now, CARE provides educational courses, vocational training, CV writing and literacy courses to Syrian women living in the area. However, according to the women, the center is more than an opportunity to develop their skills. It is an opportunity to escape their daily hardships and fears and think about the future.

“I had to leave Homs four years ago in 2015, after being injured in a bombardment. Thankfully, my injury was not severe and I managed to recover quickly. Despite that, I was never able to go back to continue my university studies because it was too dangerous to go out and walk around the city”.

When Rana was displaced in Idlib with her family, she was determined to continue her studies. She managed to register again in the University of Idlib and she eventually received a diploma in English literature. After finishing her studies, she didn’t want to stay home, but it was very hard for her family to agree on letting her go out to find a job. “Being a woman in these kind of situations is very hard and even dangerous,” she explains. “Women are used as hostages by the different armed groups of the conflict and we are often threatened of being arrested and raped at checkpoints, or even being killed”.

But Rana was not ready to let go of her dreams. She applied for a job at a Women Now center, which is supported by CARE, in January 2018.

“In the center, I am responsible for 250 women who visit us daily and for another 10 female staff members. I can’t be weak. I have to stay strong to support them. When the women hear military aircrafts flying, they cannot even breathe. I try to take it easy and distract them with a joke. After all, this is our reality, we have to keep moving”.

“I am motivated to continue working as I feel personally responsible for all the women attending our courses. Most of them are either widowed or have lost their parents or children. We work with old ladies who never had the chance to study and are not able to work. They come here to learn and be able to start a new life, to become independent. We are also working with a 15-year-old girl, who has lost both her parents in the war. We are her family now. She walks a very long distance every day to attend the courses and she is growing with us. I can’t let go of her or the other participants.”

“Sometimes when the bombardment is heavy, we keep the center closed. We take the day off. But once the situation is better, we all go back as if nothing has happened. Life continues for all of us and we’re not going to give up on our hopes and dreams. We will continue as long as we’re alive.”

“Since the escalation of violence in Idlib this past week we stick to our homes. We stay in as long as there is bombardment. We listen carefully for announcements from the people who are watching the sky, they tell us when it’s clear so we can go out again to buy food and daily basics. The bombardment is still heavy in the surroundings of Idlib city which caused a huge wave of displacement from the suburbs. The situation is miserable because most of the displaced people don’t have a place to go. The lucky ones can stay in their cars that are full of their belongings and some food. But others are staying in the open, in parks or open fields. There’s no cover for them but the sky. The Women Now center has remained closed for the past three days, and we’re waiting and praying that we won’t be the next target of the attacks.”



 

Rana, 29, from Homs is the Director of the Women Now Center in Idlib – one of three CARE-supported centers in the governorate. In partnership with Women Now, CARE provides educational courses, vocational training, CV writing and literacy courses to Syrian women, aged 15 to 70, who are living in the area. Over 2,100 women have attended the center between April 2018 and March 2019. (Photo Credit: Women Now)

Syrian women in Idlib attending a mathematics class. In partnership with CARE, Women Now provides educational courses, vocational training, CV writing and literacy courses to Syrian women, aged 15 to 70, who are living in Idlib. A special kids corner helps mothers attend with their children, where a member of staff looks after them. Women Now’s Center in Idlib is one of three CARE-supported centers in the governorate. Over 2,100 women have attended the center between April 2018 and March 2019. (Photo Credit: Women Now)

Graduation day from a computer course. The teacher asked each woman to present her work and choose a picture that represents an idea. Here, a participant talked about the value of friendship. In partnership with CARE, Women Now provides educational courses, vocational training, CV writing and literacy courses to Syrian women, aged 15 to 70, who are living in Idlib. A special kids corner helps mothers attend with their children, where a member of staff looks after them. Women Now’s Center in Idlib is one of three CARE-supported centers in the governorate. Over 2,100 women have attended the center between April 2018 and March 2019. (Photo Credit: Women Now)

A course on the introduction to small projects. Women learn about planning a project, how to start it, budgets, strategies, and logistics of a new project. In partnership with CARE, Women Now provides educational courses, vocational training, CV writing and literacy courses to Syrian women, aged 15 to 70, who are living in Idlib. A special kids corner helps mothers attend with their children, where a member of staff looks after them. Women Now’s Center in Idlib is one of three CARE-supported centers in the governorate. Over 2,100 women have attended the center between April 2018 and March 2019. (Photo Credit: Women Now)

Women Now’s Center in Idlib is one of three CARE-supported centers in the governorate. The center is located in the underground floor of a building to ensure the safety of participants in case of an emergency. The elevator shown here was built to enable the injured, disabled, and older or pregnant women to access the center. In partnership with CARE, Women Now provides educational courses, vocational training, CV writing and literacy courses to Syrian women, aged 15 to 70, who are living in Idlib. A special kids corner helps mothers attend with their children, where a member of staff looks after them. Over 2,100 women have attended the center between April 2018 and March 2019.(Photo Credit: Women Now)

Learn more about CARE's work in Syria.

 

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