The women who were chosen through the Harat Al Ouneh (Supportive Neighborhoods) initiative for support were not ordinary women. Rather, the story of each of them is a model of resilience and giving. The following stories, written by Amna Daoud, Sami Omar Hassan and Ibrahim Al-Zughaibat, three young people working for Harat Al Ouneh youth initiative, come to document part of the initiatives they launched in solidarity with and in support of women from their communities around Jordan, to help them overcome the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bead work helps increase Laila’s family’s income
“I’m tired of being in the position of a taker. I want to start giving because happiness is in it.” A woman’s responsibilities increase when the family’s breadwinner is incapacitated, more so when she is the mother of many children.
Laila* is one such woman. Due to her husband’s illness, she started making accessories, rosaries, ornaments, and other objects made of beads , to supplement the income of her family of four children who are all in school and need school supplies.
The desire to increase income and add originality to the design of her beadwork products prompted Leila, who has artistic inclinations and a creative talent, to enroll in a beadwork course, which she benefited greatly from. It is quite taxing on this mother of four, but “I want to make a living, and even though it is tiring, I feel happy when create things that people like”
Laila works from home, and most of her clients are friends, acquaintances, and neighbors. Like other small home-business owners, Laila aspires to gradually expand her business by promoting it through social media. And because she needs to support her family and increase the family’s income, she is thinking of starting to create items with traditional embroidery once she makes sure there is enough demand for them in her area.
The financial support provided by the youth of Harat Al Ouneh initiative helped Laila clear her debt that. With what was left of this support, she purchased the materials needed to make her beadwork. The youth initiative and hers stood her in good stead.
Sumaya’s search for a stable income
“A mother is a river of giving, and she does not wait for return for her giving, but she needs support to be resilient.”
Sumayais a mother of six children and a symbol of giving and resilience, which was manifested after the death of her husband, which affected Sumaya morally and materially. The death of her day-laborer husband left her with debts that she had to pay. But where to get the money from and how to help her six children complete their education were questions uppermost on her mind, exhausting her physically and mentally.
She knew that there were not many avenues open to her. Her eldest daughters got married as soon as they finished high school, but she insisted on supporting her younger daughter Maryam to obtain a university scholarship from UNRWA.
The financial grant provided by the youth of Harat Al Ouneh initiative helped Sumaya pay her many debts and to buy some supplies and stuff that could help her see her wish to open a small grocery store come true. That would help her secure her daily expenses and improve her family’s economic situation.
The grocery store, part of her house, could help generate a steady income through which she can feed her orphaned children, meet their needs and educate them.
“I will not abandon my children or fail to take care of them for a moment. Their father is gone, but I will always be their father and mother,” she said.
Maysoon… from household utensils to the productive kitchen
“I can’t stop giving, my children need me and I am their only support. I must stand by them.”
Maysoon* sells household appliances and cooking utensils. She used to receive clients referred to her by acquaintances, friend, and neighbors in her home, but she stopped that because of her husband’s violent and harmful behavior, prompted by his addiction.
After separating from her husband, she worked to secure a daily income for her family of five children and is seeking to return to her previous modest work.
She hopes to expand the base of clientele to which she sells household appliances and cooking utensils and include catering home meals with the help of her daughters who love to cook.
The financial grant provided by the youth of Harat Al Ouneh initiative helped Maysoon get rid of her debts and to buy the supplies she needs to move forward with her project.
The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) supports women and works to shed light on stories showing women’s resilience through the youth of Harat Al Ouneh initiative, which is part of the “Empowering Each Other” project, implemented in partnership with UN Women and with the support of the Australian government.
*The names mentioned are not real, to protect the anonymity of the persons