Through the Conflict Response Fund, we invested in opportunities for Syrian women and girls to rebuild their lives.
A peaceful uprising against the president of Syria, nearly ten years ago, turned into a full-scale civil war. The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people, devastated cities and forced millions of Syrians to flee their homes. Women have suffered the most with the resurgence of violence in Syria, with women and girls becoming more vulnerable to brutality, sexual violence, and extreme poverty.
In 2020, we partnered with Women Now for Development, a local organization that works to provide women with the opportunity to attain better livelihoods. The organization trains, educates and supports Syrian women by providing courses at centers on the outskirts of Idlib and the countryside around Aleppo.
Together, through our Conflict Response Fund, we provided vocational skills training to Syrian women in Sewing, Computer Maintenance, Bakery and Soap Making, and offered online classes in Arabic literacy, English language skills, and Maths. These courses focused on helping women and girls gain marketable skills, earn an income, and support their families. After completing the program, women were given small grants to start their own businesses.
Women like Amra.
Like millions of others, Amra was forced to flee her home because of the conflict in Syria. She had always wanted to work with computers but, living in a camp for internally displaced persons and being responsible for supporting her family, Amra's options were limited.
“I’ve always had a passion for technology and dreams of working to provide for myself and my family,” says Amra.
“But as a 25-year-old Syrian woman far from home and living in a camp, it was difficult. So, when I found out about Women Now, I enrolled in a computer maintenance training course.”
After graduating from the program, all the participants in the computer training course received a laptop and wireless mouse. A few months after classes ended, Women Now caught up with Amra and discovered she had started her own computer programming and maintenance business in the Idlib camp. Amra shared how she goes from tent to tent helping other women fix their computers, install anti-virus software and make their own websites.
“The training was great. My neighbor’s laptop broke down and I was able to download the drive and fix it. I started helping my friends create their own Facebook accounts and their own emails. I also used a proxy to work around bans on Google apps by using the tools I learned in the digital security course,” Amra told us. “After learning about computer software, I really want to learn more about hardware so I’d like to get some more training in that.”
“Amra is an inspirational example of the power of women to achieve their ambitions in the toughest circumstances,” says Zeina Kanawati with Women Now. “Our partnership with Women for Women International has empowered women and girls affected by conflict in Syria, and the story of Amra’s success makes us more determined than ever to continue our work.”