From Where I Stand: "My journey to financial literacy for making informed decisions."


Interviewer: Mahmudul Karim

Safa Ahmad Sayeda, with some of the products that she makes and sells.
Safa Ahmad Sayeda, with some of the products that she makes and sells. Photo: UN Women/Mahmudul Karim

Safa Ahmad Sayeda, a 37-year-old Jordanian mother of three, contributes to her family's financial stability as her husband nears retirement. After relocating to Karak governorate and closing her successful handicraft store, Safa faced an economic crisis. Joining the Oasis Centre enabled her to acquire new skills and establish a thriving home-based business, thus revitalizing her family’s economic situation. Safa benefitted from a new Financial Literacy training at the Oasis Centre which is funded by the European Union Trust Fund 'Madad' and conducted in partnership with the Association of Banks in Jordan, the Expert Bankers Association, the Social Security Corporation, and the Central Bank of Jordan and aims to empower women by improving their access to financial services and promoting gender-responsive financial products.


Joining the Oasis Centre truly transformed my life. With their support, I could buy a printer, which laid the foundation for my new business venture. I started my business by printing educational materials and greeting cards for children in my community, focusing on events like final exams, Ramadan, Eid, and gifts for newborns. This business not only generated income but also allowed me to make a positive impact on the educational needs of local children.

The financial literacy project introduced by the Oasis programme was a real eye-opener. It taught me about making wise financial decisions, the importance of savings, and how to strategically approach taking loans for business growth. This knowledge inspired me to rethink my strategy. Now, I balance using loans with saving, aiming to build capital through my income and reducing my reliance on loans.

One of the biggest hurdles I face is the high cost and sourcing of raw materials, which often requires trips to Amman. By saving and strategically investing my earnings, I plan to stock raw materials at home, which will help cut production costs. My vision is to expand my business to include a bookstore that requires a larger printer, and I plan to use my social media presence and client base to fuel this growth.

I am a strong advocate for financial literacy among women, emphasizing its significance not just for entrepreneurs but for homemakers as well. Financial management is vital for enhancing women's productivity, supporting family welfare, and contributing to national development. The project equipped us with crucial banking operations, loans, and savings knowledge, empowering us to make informed financial choices.

My journey has also been enriched by various training sessions at the Oasis Centre, including in sewing, recycling, and cosmetics. My goal is to reach a level in society where I am no longer viewed as underprivileged, opening all doors for recognition in my community. I aim to empower myself for my children and to support my community. Volunteering, especially in schools, is my passion, allowing me to give back to the community that has supported my growth and empowerment." she shared.

Razan Aldmour, a field assistant with UN Women Jordan and the focal point for the Karak Oasis Centre, shares explains that, "the Oasis programme is not just about developing livelihood skills. Witnessing the remarkable transformation in women's interpersonal and social intelligence, and seeing how it significantly improves their lives, truly amazes me. Many women come here lacking work experience or social interaction. I remember a widow who arrived at the Oasis Centre, heartbroken and emotionally distressed, initially unable to connect with anyone. Watching her evolve through training and awareness sessions was extraordinary. She became a confident, empowered individual, ready to share her story of transformation with others at the centre. Experiencing such profound changes in the lives of vulnerable women fuels my passion and dedication to my work."

The Oasis Programme has been instrumental in empowering women like Safa, particularly those navigating difficult situations. Her story underscores the transformative power of investing in women's empowerment and skill development, illustrating how these initiatives not only foster financial independence but also enhance community resilience and reduce vulnerability to violence.

Since 2012, UN Women has established 22 centres across Jordan to provide Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanian women with safe, inclusive spaces. The Oasis centres have provided crucial cash-for-work, skill development, and early childhood services to more than 30,000 people, including many women with disabilities. The initiative focuses on addressing gender barriers, promoting economic empowerment, and enhancing protection against gender-based violence.