"Here in Jordan, there are a lot of good people that want what's best for others."
Huda is from Damascus, Syria, she is 42 years old and she lives in Deir Alla, Jordan, with her two children and her husband. “We have been here for almost 7 years. […] We lived in Damascus and we left because we got scared of what was happening in Syria. […] We came to Jordan because it was safe,” she explains. “We were scared for our children, for our siblings, for our mother, because she is old and we couldn’t leave here in a war-torn country.”
Despite the fact that moving to a different country is tough, Huda remembers how welcoming Jordanians have been with her and her family: “we were preparing ourselves for hardship but, luckily, things were a little easier than anticipated. Here in Jordan there are a lot of good people that want what’s best for others. […] They welcomed us and accepted us, we felt safe among them,” she recalls.
It took some time, but Huda’s husband started working in agriculture and her children started attending school. Differently from when she was in Syria, where women did not really leave the house, Huda works to help and provide for her family. While volunteering, she was told there was a home maintenance training open to Syrian refugee women, which would cover both plumbing and electricity-related work. Huda was very curious about it and thought attending would help her gain invaluable experience: she thought it would be useful to be able to repair things around the house without having to call and pay someone else to do it.
“The training was very useful. They taught us how to work as a team, to cooperate and respect each other, in addition to preparing us for a future job. […] This will be a source of income for my family and my children… it benefits me and others,” she explains. The training, an initiative led by the EuroMed Feminist Initiative (IFE-EFI) and supported by the EU through the Trust Fund, teaches women about the tools and equipment required for the job and also highlights general safety notions, like how to cut power when working with water for example, together with what type of protective clothing to use. The training is really useful as it first gives a strong theoretical background and then helps attendees put in practice what they have learnt. “They showed us how to fix sinks, take them apart and put them back together. We used to think that all screwdrivers were the same but we now know that different screwdrivers are for different things. […] We should use specific tools for specific things,” she concludes.
After completing the training, the women who participated in it become part of a network of workers on call should the need arise. “There is a hotline,” she says. People that need assistance with home repairs can call the number and a team of two women who live in the area of the caller will reach the client to help with the problem.
Huda dreams of opening her own shop in the future and maybe train others: she wants to be able to provide a useful service to the people of the town she lives in who helped her developing the necessary skills to be able to work and stand on her own feet.
Home maintenance is not a sector that welcomes many female workers but Huda truly believes that trainings like this will change things: “if one goes out [of the house] to work, she will encourage the rest, and because now we have a good number of women working, […] the perception about us being capable of working will change,” she explains. “I’m really happy I took part in the project because I feel it will open up opportunities for me.”
Thanks to the financial support of the EU via the Trust Fund, IFE-EFI works to promote gender equality and empower women on the national level through a wide variety of services, including vocational trainings, that reach almost 45,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese and Syrian refugee women and girls.