From where I stand: “My life has changed – I have grown internally, and I am not in need of anyone”

Amal Mohammad Zyoud, a 35-year-old mother of four, joined the Oasis Centre in the hopes of providing a better education for her children. The Oasis model for women’s resilience and empowerment was developed by UN Women and the Ministry of Social Development with significant funding and contributions from the European Union, including in the model’s extension to community centres and related policy dialogues.

Amal Mohammad Zyoud receives training at the Oasis Centre in Muwaqqar, which is run by the Ministry of Social Development and UN Women. Photo: UN Women/Ye Ji Lee

“When I was 19, I got married. I did not have the opportunity to continue my education after I graduated from high school. Since then, I was living in a closed environment, as I spent most of my time at home as a housewife. There was little opportunity for me as a woman to be engaged in anything outside of the house.

One day, I was talking to my neighbours, who previously served as incentive-based volunteers at UN Women’s Oasis Centre. They encouraged me to apply and told me to seize the opportunity, as it will help me financially and personality-wise. After learning about the Oasis Centre, I came up with a plan – for what I wanted to learn, and how I would use the skills after 6 months of training.

I approached my husband to seek his permission to go and work outside of the house. I told him that I wanted to learn home maintenance skills and be able to support our children with their education. He was convinced, and now I am one of the trainees in the maintenance sector at the Oasis Centre.

Before joining the training program, I was afraid of handling electricity or doing any home maintenance tasks. I always brought someone to get things fixed. However, after learning the safety measures from an engineer and getting equipped with protective devices, I know exactly how to deal with electricity without harming myself. After gaining the skills, I was able to repair small damages inside our home. For the past three years, we have been using an electric heater without the rubber cord. It was dangerous, but no one knew how to fix it. However, once I gained the skills through training at the Oasis, I put cords around the wire and now it is safer for my family and children.

I feel very fortunate to have joined the Oasis. Like my neighbours told me, this experience is not solely about gaining an income. Through the Oasis, I was able to meet new people and build new relationships. We have become role models for each other, and for our own communities. I was able to acquire new skills and it has provided a new future for me and my children.

My children are happy to see me work. Every day when I come home, they ask me what I have learned that day. My daughter also tells me that one day, she wishes to be like me – able to fix anything. Once my training at the centre finishes, I wish to start a small home maintenance business in my community for women who cannot have other men in the house to fix broken appliances, to support my children to have a better education.

I want to share with other women that anything is possible. We should not be embarrassed of anything or be ashamed of ourselves. Once you set a goal and work for it, you will accomplish whatever you want. I challenged myself to get out of the house and join the Oasis Centre and my life has changed – I have grown internally, and I am not in need of anyone. I am independent.”

Amal Mohammad Zyoud, 35, is a trainee in the home maintenance sector at the Oasis Centre in Muwaqqar, Jordan, where she has acquired skills, become more confident, and set an example for other women in her community to seek employment and gain financial independence. Her work contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 8, which seeks to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men. This work in host community Oasis Centres, implemented by UN Women and the Ministry of Social Development, is funded by the European Union under the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis.