"I will call my shop ‘The powerful woman"
[Story originally published on UN Women Jordan‘s website.]
Amneh Qasim, 54, shares her motivation to venture into new opportunities and the importance of women lifting each other up. Qasim is enrolled in the Oasis Centre in Zarqa, where the Ministry of Social Development and UN Women empower vulnerable women with the skills needed to shift towards sustainable livelihoods through job placements and entrepreneurship with the support of the European Union through the Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis, the Madad Fund.
Due to her husband’s disability, 54-year-old Amneh Qasim has always had to provide for her 10 children, working a range of different jobs including as the first female bus driver in her community.
Eager to gain skills that would allow her to start her own business, she enrolled in the Oasis Centre in Zarqa. With the support of the Madad Fund, MoSD and UN Women give women the skills they need to shift towards sustainable livelihoods through job placements and entrepreneurship.
“I learned so much,” she says of the experience. “The fact that, while learning, we were producing items to be distributed to those in need in the community was an important drive. It motivated all of us to be very committed in producing something of high quality.”
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, she made close friends among the women in the programme. “We share advice and we try to influence other women in our community to take chances in life.”
Qasim is now considering opening her own shop. “I’m even thinking of joining efforts with other women working with me in the course. If that happened, I would name my shop ‘The powerful woman’.”
Qasim is one of the 580 women who accessed sustainable livelihoods opportunities in 2021 through the Oasis centers across Jordan. She says she is proud to be a role model for her children and women in her community. “I want all of them to become as empowered as I am. … My advice to them is to never give up: never underestimate your potential and do not let others bring you down – keep trying and one day you will make it.”