From where I stand: “I have finally found the value that I need in my life to succeed.”

Deep within the rural community of Karak lies the town of Taibeh, where 39-year-old Mona Ahmed Alqkla, found a safe place for her family seven years ago after fleeing the conflict in Dara'a, Syria. She had never found an opportunity to work, until now. She recently joined the incentive-based volunteer programme as a tailor in the Oasis Centre in Taibeh, which was launched by the Ministry of Social Development in partnership with UN Women in March 2019.


Mona Ahmed Alqkla, 39, has found an incentive-based volunteer opportunity as a tailor at the UN Women Oasis Centre in Taibeh. Photo: UN Women/Lauren Rooney

QuoteI left Dara’a seven years ago after fleeing with my family. We had to leave before the war tore our family apart. War is hard to imagine unless you have lived through it. It is frightening and I would never wish it on anyone.

At first, we lived in the Za'atari refugee camp for five months, but the conditions proved to be too harsh on my family. We made the decision to keep on traveling until we found a place in Karak.

I have always wanted to find work, but it was difficult. It is hard to find a job which can accommodate the needs of a woman and her family. My eldest daughter needs care due to her mental health, which meant I could never take a job that was far away.

This year I took the decision to enrol in the Women's Centre [Oasis] as a tailor in the incentive-based volunteer programme. When I was accepted, I was extremely nervous and excited at the same time.

Through the Oasis programme and the services that it provides, I now have access to childcare facilities, a transportation subsidy and I am able to earn for my family. What is most important to me is that I am now able to afford to pay for my daughter’s therapy.

Many Syrian refugee women in my local neighbourhood think women should not work; however, after having this opportunity I want to show them that a woman can and should be able to provide for her family.

In the three months that I have been here, I have learned so much. My dream is to open up my own tailoring business one day. And, now that I have the skills to do so, I have bought a sewing machine for my home and I am even teaching my husband how to sew. Perhaps one day we will have a family-owned shop.

I have finally found the value that I need in my life to succeed.”

SDG 5: Gender equality
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Mona Ahmed Alqkla is a Syrian refugee living in Taibeh, where the Ministry of Social Development in partnership with UN Women has launched an Oasis centre that focuses on enhancing the resilience and empowerment of vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian women and girls, while also engaging men and boys in dialogue and mobilization for social equality. The programme has received generous funding from the Government of Australia. Mona’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, on promoting peace and security, SDG 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women, as well as SDG 8, on full and productive employment and decent work.