Rihab lives in Zarqa, Jordan, along with her husband and five children. She became a member of CARE’s Zarqa Women’s Leadership Council when it first began in 2016. This was her first experience in a leadership role, and she was very new to topics such as gender, violence and human rights. “I had no idea that refugee women had this many rights, until I was trained to become a trainer on these topics,” explains Rihab.
“When I was in Syria, I used to be a psychology and a sociology teacher in a boys’ school, which is why it was very difficult for me to be unemployed when I came to Jordan in 2013,” says Rihab. Rihab found her calling when she was introduced to the Women’s Leadership Council and was able to be an active member of society again.
“I have always considered my children to be my greatest accomplishment in life. They are all very high achievers at school. My second greatest achievement is that I was able to rise from a very dark place due to my work with CARE in the Council.”
After a year and a half of training other women, the Council started initiatives that would help them reach a wider audience of Syrian women and educate them on the most important topics. “My initiative was called ‘First Aid at Your Home’, where I taught 10 women basic first aid skills that can save their lives, or a family member’s life. They, in turn, would teach 10 other women all the lifesaving skills that they learned.”
Rihab explained that her work with CARE has also helped her work with other INGOs, “I was able to build my CV and work with NRC and UNICEF as a leader for change. This also allowed me to be a leader in my own household and set an example for my children to be leaders as well. My son is even enrolled in the CARE Youth Council because he always says that he wants to be just like me.”
Women’s Leadership Councils (WLCs) enable Syrian women to take part in activism, promote gender-responsive and participatory monitoring practices, and participate in key decision-making processes within their local communities in Jordan. Each council is made up of twelve members between the ages of 18-55 (with exceptions to qualified and committed women over 55). WLCs help raise the voices of Syrian women and girls by including them in policy making and providing support to the women and girls in their communities.
Rihab said of her experience as a leader in one of CARE’s Women’s Leadership Councils, “I have always considered my children to be my greatest accomplishment in life… My second greatest achievement is that I was able to rise from a very dark phase due to my work with CARE in the Council.”
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