by Oxfam Canada | May 16, 2019
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Economic empowerment is fundamental to women’s ability to move out and stay out of poverty. Meet two amazing women participating in Oxfam projects that have supported their ability to make a living and lead a dignified life.
Mariam: becoming a plumber
Plumbing can be a hard industry for women to break into anywhere in the world. But in Jordan, women face traditions and barriers that make this career even harder.
Mariam didn’t let that stop her. Five years ago, she was invited to join a course to learn basic plumbing skills. Since then, she has established a well-known business and reputation in Amman.
“There have been times when I wanted to stop because of the challenges I’ve faced.”
It hasn’t been easy for Mariam to establish herself in a traditionally male dominated industry. But now she has male plumbers working for her!
“The men that work for me are happy to work for a woman – even today I had a call from a male plumber asking for work.”
Oxfam has trained over 400 women, in partnership with women like Mariam, in basic plumbing skills as part of a broader project that focuses on reducing waste and educating communities in Jordan on water conservation.
In Jordan women are generally responsible for managing water use in the home, so we’ve intentionally targeted women to play a key role in water conservation – while also training them as plumbers and opening up a new career and livelihood for them.
“Women here want to work. We want opportunities, but often there aren’t any for us. We need support to keep growing these opportunities for women.”
“I’ve proven to people, my community, and the world around me that women can do anything.”
Huda: starting a small jewelry business
Huda and her family are from a small village in the Dara’a region of Syria. When fighting intensified there six years ago, she made the difficult decision to leave.
“On the day we left our village about one hundred people died in airstrikes that hit their houses. That’s why we decided to leave. I felt so sad that day. I cried a lot thinking that people were dying. One man lost four of his children in one day. Imagine that.”
Huda remembers her first days in Jordan. “Coming here was like having a new life. I started taking courses on how to make soaps and jewellery and I really liked it.”
Huda turned to soap making to help treat her son’s eczema. When she took them to the local marketplace, people fell in love with them. She began getting phone calls asking for more.
Through Souq Fann, an e-commerce platform developed in partnership with Oxfam, Huda is able to sell her soaps online and scale her business up. We help support local artisans in Jordan, giving them access to sell to new markets while producing products from their homes.
“I was so proud. I sent my friends the link to the website – they were so happy for me.”
Like Huda, many Syrian women are trying to build a more dignified life by working from home.