A Journey of Resilience: Samaher’s Story


Samaher in front of the Zaatari Oasis centre gate where she works.
Samaher in front of the Zaatari Oasis centre gate where she works. Photo: UN Women/Bashar Al-Jabari

At the heart of Zaatari Refugee camp, when Samaher arrived in Jordan in 2013, little did she know that she would become an example of resilience and empowerment for her family and community. With two sons and two daughters, Samaher's journey began with hope, but took a challenging turn.

"I came to Jordan with my husband and children. A year later, I got divorced, and my husband went back to Syria. We currently know nothing about him," Samaher said. "When we first arrived, we were staying in tents, we experienced things we never expected to live. But with time, things started to get better and gradually we got used to the situation."

Amidst the hardships of displacement, Samaher got a glimpse of hope knowing about UN Women Oasis centre from her friends, a safe space where women voice concerns and gain positive coping strategies.

"I heard about the Oasis centre from my friends. All women here in the camp know about the Oasis centres," she says with determination.

With a background in security work, Samaher was no stranger to the new experience. "I worked previously as a guard at a school here in the camp. So, I am familiar with the nature of the job," she explains.

The initiative of hiring female incentive-based volunteers (IBVs) as guards in Oasis centres further promotes gender equality and empowers women to actively participate in their own protection. By breaking traditional gender roles and challenging stereotypes, it supports the work of changing social norms and perceptions regarding women ‘s roles in society, paving the way for broader inclusion and equality.

Driven by the responsibility of providing for her family, Samaher seized the opportunity to join the center, where she attended various sessions on protection and violence against women. These sessions provided a platform for women like her to learn about their rights and access support services. Through discussions, workshops, and educational materials, participants gained valuable insights into safeguarding themselves and their families from various forms of violence and exploitation.

Samaher at the Zaatari Oasis centre taking notes as part of her tasks.
Samaher at the Zaatari Oasis centre taking notes as part of her tasks. Photo: UN Women/Bashar Al-Jabari

"Women must learn to take new opportunities and challenge themselves. We shouldn’t lose hope whatever happens to us. We need to keep experimenting and trying until we succeed," Samaher adds.

For Samaher, working at the Oasis centre has not only provided financial stability but also opened doors to new opportunities. "Working here will open new paths for me. As a breadwinner, the salary I am getting here has helped me and my family in many ways," she says, "I hope I will be able to get a fixed job that can help me sustain good life conditions for my family and help us overcome life difficulties."

Samaher envisions a future where she can provide a better life for her family and overcome life's hardships with resilience and determination. Samaher Najlat's story serves as a testimonial of human strength and the transformative power of empowerment. Her journey from refugee to breadwinner inspires hope and resilience in the face of adversity.

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