Leyla & Oum Walid

Leyla & Oum Walid


Leyla & Oum Walid

Leyla, 31, left Deraa in Syria with her husband and children in 2013, after nearly being shot by a sniper.

Leyla took her family and left Syria to start a new life in Al Ramtha, Jordan. “When I first got to Jordan, my life was very difficult. I was not used to the way of living here,” she says.

Oum Walid, 31, also from Deraa, moved to Al Ramtha in 2014 due to the worsening situation at home. “I have 3 girls and 2 boys. They all go to school. My husband used to work but he’s suffered from a foot deformity [which] has not allowed him to be fully engaged into employment.”

Al Ramtha, in Northern Jordan, is located less than 15 kilometres from the city of Deraa, just across the Syrian border. Consequently, Al Ramtha has witnessed a massive influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the war ever since the conflict sparked in 2011. The city’s public infrastructure has been put under increasing strain and both local residents and Syrian refugees are suffering from a lack of job opportunities. Access to Jordan’s job market is not easy for Syrian refugees, who are only allowed to work in certain trades.

The two women decided to attend a beauty training to improve their living conditions. “My husband can’t work all the time because of his feet. I wanted to help and contribute to the household income,” explains Oum Walid. “[My husband] was very reluctant at first. He would tell me that it’s stigmatising to get around as a refugee woman. Before, I would feel scrutinised for my every move. But here, things are different. During these sessions, they taught me to raise my head high and be proud. They said I needed to look after myself and secure an income instead of relying on others.”

I feel like I got a lot out of [these trainings]. I made friends, I have been able to make a change and also forget about my situation. [...] I just want to live in peace and feel safe… I care about my kids growing up in a safe place and about me being able to guarantee a future for them. It’s the most important thing for me! - Leyla

Leyla has also attended workshops to become a hairdresser. “[Attending such trainings] is a really useful channel to get us into employment… working from home and looking after our children in the meantime,” she says. “It’s been a little over a month since we have been attending these training sessions, and I feel I’m learning new things every day! [...] God willing, when I complete the training and get the certification, my intention is to open up a beauty salon at home and work from there.”

© European Union 2017 / Johanna de Tessières

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