From Where I Stand: “You must be your number one supporter.”


Nadia Al Obaydien, 45, struggled with severe health problems for six years and, as of this year, became a cancer survivor. Determined to set out on a new journey and eager to learn new skills, Al Obaydien enrolled as a poly-agriculture trainee in the  Oasis center run by the Ministry of Social Development and UN Women in Tafilah with the support of the European Union, through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syria Crisis, the EU MADAD Fund. Since then, she has been rebuilding her self-esteem and sense of autonomy, which in turn inspired her to support her community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An incentive-based volunteer from the UN Women Oasis center in Tafilah, utilizes her skills she developed from the poly-agriculture training to assist in a voluntary experience to plant over 100 trees in her community. Photo: UN Women 
Quote Since 2014, I have been battling with cancer. It was and still remains the biggest challenge in my life, but now I am considered as a cancer survivor. With this mind, I was determined to build my life over again. 

Starting from scratch at 45 was a daunting prospect. Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I spent ten years working as a hairdresser in a local salon. Back then I remember feeling so independent because I had the opportunity to work. I craved that feeling again.

This time round I wanted to try something different, so I enrolled as a poly-tunnel agriculture trainee at the Oasis Center, where I have been learning about agro-climate, different soils, fertilization and water management. 

However, this experience for me was equally important to learn how to rebuild my self-esteem and confidence, which has in turn has increased my sense of autonomy. This sense of empowerment and fulfillment helped me to support my community during COVID, leading by example to inspire others to stay strong and face the challenge at hand. 

I wanted to encourage the people around me to protect themselves from the virus, so I developed the idea to recycle discarded soaps. I started to engaged children and neighbors on the importance of hygiene through the creation of colorful and beautiful soaps. 

We must all work together to mitigate the spread of the virus and reduce its negative negative as much as possible. Stay strong, continue to fight, even during the hardest times- you must be your number one supporter pushing yourself through life to overcome the challenges in front of you.”

SDG 5: Gender equality
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Nadia Al Obaydien, 45, lives in the agricultural community of Ein Albaida, in the governorate of Tafilah located in the South of Jordan. In 2019she enrolled as a poly-tunnel agriculture trainee in the Oasis Center ran by the Ministry of Social Development and UN Women. With the support of the EU MADAD Fund, the Oasis model employs a “resilience and empowerment” approach, designed to build the short- and medium- term resilience of Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian women, which proved to be successful in strengthening women’s action at the community level during the COVID-19 outbreak. Al Obaydien’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, on promoting peace and security, SDG 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women, as well as SDG 8, on full and productive employment and decent work.