From Where I Stand: The Oasis Centre makes you feel comfortable and at peace. It provided me with everything I ever dreamed of.


Alia, 42, is a tailoring trainer at the UN Women Oasis Centre in Muwaqqar with a passion for learning. As a working mother, Alia continues to challenge herself and her cultural norms.

Alia, a mother and tailoring trainer, embodies empowerment and resilience at the Oasis Centre.
Alia, a mother and tailoring trainer, embodies empowerment and resilience at the Oasis Centre. Photo: UN Women


I was in the ninth grade when I got married to my cousin, and shortly after, I got divorced. Throughout my life, I have encountered multiple challenges. In my community, there was a prevailing cultural stigma against divorced women pursuing education. While residing with my grandmother, I was determined to continue my studies. My grandmother discreetly supported this ambition, allowing me to take classes whenever my father was away.

After my divorce, following the mourning period, I found myself in a new marriage, that wasn't by my choice. I relocated from Sahab to Muwaqqar with this change in my life. The transition was difficult; I struggled to adapt to the new area and its distinct lifestyles and traditions, which were so different from what I was accustomed to. This move marked a stark shift in my life, from a state of comfort to one of scarcity. Financial challenges compounded the lack of understanding and connection between my husband and me. Back in 2019, I heard about the Oasis Centre from the manager, Basma. She told me about it before the project started because I worked as a tailor.

My journey in tailoring began as a personal hobby, rooted in my family's background in the craft. My mother was a tailor, and this passion was also shared by my aunt, though she preferred more traditional methods. While I didn't work professionally in a shop or sell my tailored pieces, I enjoyed sewing for myself at home. It all started when my aunt recognizing my talent and invited me to assist her. Initially, I helped with cutting, introducing a modern approach to the designs. Impressed by my skills, she soon entrusted me with more significant aspects of the sewing process. In preparation for the first tailoring course in our area, we conducted a thorough study. My input was sought for selecting the necessary machines and materials. This collaboration led to my appointment as the trainer for the course.

I have always been keen on applying the knowledge I acquire, and the center here offered me the perfect opportunity to do so. Beyond honing my tailoring skills, it also fostered my social development. The center served as a safe and comfortable haven, where we enjoyed the freedom to explore our creativity and execute our own designs. The Oasis has been a sanctuary for me, a place of comfort and tranquility. It fulfilled all my aspirations, including fair compensation for my work. I hold immense appreciation for the project organizers, whose understanding and support have been invaluable.

My next goal is to expand on what I've learned from this course and apply these skills in my own home, with the hope of eventually launching a larger tailoring business. My journey hasn't been without its challenges, including battling illness. However, rather than seeing this as a hindrance, it fueled my determination to learn and teach, turning adversity into motivation. Juggling responsibilities at home with work and studies was demanding, but it pushed me to challenge myself further.

Cultural norms presented significant barriers, particularly from my husband, who viewed my aspirations to study and work as shameful. Despite this, I remained steadfast in my pursuit of knowledge and personal growth. My message to all women is one of hope and resilience, live and learn. Without learning and working, we cannot fully realize our potential.”

Alia Atallah Said is a trainer in the tailoring sector at the Oasis Centre in Muwaqqar, Jordan, where she transformed herself and encouraged other women in her community to follow in her footsteps. 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 work in host community Oasis Centres, implemented by UN Women and the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD), funded by the European Union Trust Fund ‘Madad’.