Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, over four million people, more than 50% of whom are women and girls, have been forced to flee from their homes.

Nearly 80,000 have found shelter in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee Camp, yet the devastating effects of the conflict can still be felt.

UN Women’s Oasis Centres in Za’atari Refugee Camp are providing  jobs, training and a sense of community for women and their families.

Walaa, a jewellery maker, remembers how difficult life was before coming to the Oasis Centre: “I felt lonely and sad, as I didn’t leave home. I felt constrained… as if I was in prison. But when I got the opportunity to work at [the Oasis Centre] I met new people and I learned a new skill in the jewellery workshop which will benefit me in the future…”

At the Oasis Centres, women are employed through cash-for-work programs, participating in vocational and skills training in areas such as computing and English, allowing them to earn their own livelihood and provide for their families.

In addition to the economic security and empowerment afforded by these programs, UN Women’s Oasis Centres are working to ensure women in Za’atari are safe, their voices heard and their lives a little brighter by providing protection referral services for sexual and gender-based violence, emergency and medical support services, counselling, day care facilities, as well as offering educational and recreational programs for women and children. UN Women also facilitates women’s committees that serve as a bridge between refugees and the camp decision-makers.

To date, the work of UN Women’s Oasis Centres has resulted in a 20% reduction in domestic violence among program participants, 91% have reported an increase in household and community decision-making as a result of the cash-for-work programs, and 96% of participants have emphasised the positive impact the Oasis Centre services have had on their mental wellbeing.

In response to high demand for Oasis Centre programs, UN Women National Committee Australia’s current tax campaign is raising funds with the specific goal of doubling cash-for-work programs in the next year. Support UN Women’s work in Syria.

Read more about UN Women’s Oasis centres in the Za’atari refugee camp.