From Where I Stand: “Keep trying, once, twice, three times or more, as needed. The experience is worth it.”
Nuwwar Naser, 27, joined the UN Women Oasis Centre in Za’atari Refugee Camp as an administrative supervisor to provide for herself and her husband. The experience allowed her to overcome personal challenges and take care of herself, including her mental health. Working in management has also taught her strength of character, which is one of the reasons why she encourages other women to work.
“The situation in Syria with the army was difficult. We heard many stories about how women and girls were being assaulted, so we had to leave. In 2014, I came here with my mother, my father, and my sister. We came through the borders and directly got to the camp. Our life here at the camp has been good; we have been happy.
I spent almost ten years applying to different jobs on health awareness, data entry, office management, at libraries, kindergartens, reception offices, and other places. However, none of them worked out. The interviews were particularly difficult for me. The biggest challenge was favouritism at times. Whoever knew someone or had certain connections would often get the job. As a result, I could not find the right opportunity before joining the Oasis Centre and my work there was my first job.
I learned about the Oasis Centre through other women and neighbours, that UN Women trains women for work. I needed the money as I had recently gotten married, and my husband requires treatment which can be quite expensive. Since my husband does not work, I need to provide for the both of us.
I also gained courage upon joining the Oasis Centre. Before, I was quiet and shy and would not often socialize with any of the other women. With time, I believe that my character was strengthened. I definitely did not expect to become an administrator. I was planning to work with the loom or in reception. Initially, I signed my contract in sewing but was placed as a manager after the UN Women staff learned that I had obtained my business degree from Al-Quds College in Jordan in 2018.
I want to keep working in management. I like it. I feel like it offers one a certain kind of respect. It is important to work and take a break from the issues occurring at home. My mental state had been very bad when I did not have anywhere to go. My husband and I would fight frequently. Coming to the Oasis Centre gives me time and space to take my mind off personal problems. I feel independent as I engage here.
I have learned how to manage the Oasis Centre. I am very happy. It truly has changed my mental state. In the past, I was fixated on the idea that I might not be able to have children. I was introverted, but this is no longer the case.
I encourage other women to apply for work, and to keep trying, once, twice, three times or more, as needed. The experience is worth it. It helps you, emotionally. When I look back, I realize how things are so different now. It is not necessarily about the money. My mental health has improved, and I have become more social.”
Available in Arabic here.
Nuwwar enrolled in the UN Women’s Oasis Centre in the Za’atari refugee camp, which provides life-sustaining assistance to Syrian refugees through a holistic approach to women’s economic and social empowerment, and protection – specifically through access to education and skills development. Her work contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as SDG 8, which seeks full and productive employment and decent work for all. This initiative is generously supported by the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).