From Where I Stand: “Looking forward, the most important thing for me is to keep growing and learning.”
Salam Al-Alo, 27, sought refuge in Jordan in 2013. After working as a site supervisor at the UN Women Oasis Centre in Za’atari Refugee Camp, she continues to volunteer at the place that she believes helped her find herself.
“My name is Salam Al-Alo and I am 27 years old. I am from Daraa, Syria and arrived in Jordan in 2013. I came with my husband and his family. I did not have children at the time, but I was pregnant. I had a miscarriage on the way to Jordan because of the difficult circumstances we suffered from. We have been here at the camp for 9 years and I now have two daughters and a son.
I heard about the Oasis Centre from women in the camp- the community that I live in. I was told that it was an ‘oasis’ where women can be comfortable. People’s experiences at the Oasis were very positive. I was told that it is different from any other place because it is just women, and this encouraged me to apply.
I joined the Oasis Centre in July 2021 as a site supervisor. I was responsible for the women here, and the place in general. At first, my husband was opposed to the idea of me working, but he was convinced immediately after listening to other women’s experiences.
My work here has also taught me to become stronger. I would like to especially thank Ms. Rawan who supported me in my journey of growing as a person. Now I feel that I can face any challenge and tackle it with my strong personality. I used to often feel anxious and scared before, but that is no longer the case.
I strongly encourage other women to come to the Oasis Centre. Working truly helps you grow and develop as a person. You feel like a productive member of the society. It makes you feel like your identity is about more than just your children and your home. You are no longer restricted to a certain role. You go out, you meet people, people meet you… you provide support to others and receive it yourself.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was particularly difficult. Schools were closed and we felt suffocated. However, the work I do enabled me to afford private tutors for my children. I could not have paid for their education if it was not for my work here. I was also able to provide my kids with decent food and clothing. My experience at the Oasis helped improve my living standards.
Comparing the first and second halves of the last year, we felt emotionally drained for the first six months. The COVID pandemic was exhausting and I could not go out or interact with anyone because I was scared for my children’s health. Things improved upon joining the Oasis Centre. I could also take my children with me to work, which is a great thing about the Oasis Centre as I do not have to worry about them while on the job.
My rotation on the job has been completed but I continue as a volunteer. I have found myself here. I am also taking courses and am particularly interested in English and ICDL at the moment. Looking forward, the most important thing for me is to keep growing and learning. I want to progress further and work again so that I can support others with the same opportunities that were given to me.”
Available in Arabic here.
Generously supported by the Governments of Canada, Finland, France, Iceland, and Italy, as well as UN Women National committees under the ‘Eid bi Eid’ pooled fund mechanism, the UN Women’s Oases are centres for building women’s resilience and empowerment through enabling access to sustainable livelihood opportunities and multi-sectoral services, while also engaging men and boys in dialogue and mobilization for gender equality. Salam’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which promotes peace and security, and SDG 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women.