From where I stand: ‘Every day, I continue to conquer my physical challenges and focus on mastering my skills’

Date:

Fatoom Mohammad Suwwan, 51, joined the UN Women Oasis Centre in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. Every day, she continues to conquer her physical challenges to provide financial support for her family.

 

Fatoom Mohammad Suwwan, 51, has found an incentive-based volunteer opportunity as a cutter in tailoring at the UN Women Oasis Centre in Azraq refugee camp. Photo: UN Women/Ye Ji Lee
Fatoom Mohammad Suwwan, 51, has found an incentive-based volunteer opportunity as a cutter in tailoring at the UN Women Oasis Centre in Azraq refugee camp. Photo: UN Women/Ye Ji Lee

"We arrived in Jordan six years ago. When the war broke in Syria, most of the neighbors in my hometown decided to move to Jordan as the situation was getting worse, day by day. While we arrived to the Azraq refugee camp with familiar faces, adapting to a new environment was challenging, especially when our financial situation was unstable.

As an elderly person, my father was not in the condition to provide for the family, and my stepmother could not work due to her medical condition. Although my sister was in good health, I decided to be the breadwinner of the family as my stepmother needed to be taken care of at home. It was a struggle to find a job, as I had never been employed before. Having motor impairment myself also set additional barriers in selecting which types of opportunities I was able to apply for... After my father passed away a few years ago, I felt more responsible to take care of my stepmother and sister. Then one day, other women in the village suggested me to apply for an opening at the Oasis Centre at UN Women.

I have to say that joining the Oasis Centre changed my life…. When I first joined the Oasis, I had no previous experience in tailoring, but I have now been trained to be a cutter in the tailoring sector. Being able to learn new skills and looking after my family makes me feel empowered. Oasis has become a big part of my life, not just a means of earning an income. What makes it even more special is the relationship I built with the colleagues, who I consider to be my soul sisters. We have a support system and continue to look out for each other inside and outside of work.

The past few months at the Oasis have been one of the best experiences I‘ve had. Every day, I continue to conquer my physical challenges and focus on mastering my skills to pursue [tailoring] as a career in the future. I highly encourage other women to find employment opportunities and expand their horizons."

 

Fatoom Mohammad Suwwan, 51, is a fabric cutter at the UN Women Oasis Centre in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. The Oasis Centre provides women refugees with sustainable livelihood opportunities; access to education and skills development; civic leadership and participation opportunities; and gender-based violence prevention programming. The Oasis Centre also supports advocacy platforms to engage men and boys. The Oasis Centre programme reflects Sustainable Development Goal 1 (‘to end poverty in all its forms everywhere'), Sustainable Development Goal 5 (‘to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’) and Sustainable Development Goal 8 (‘to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’).

 

This initiative is generously supported by the Government of Japan.