The Oasis of Change: Abeer’s journey towards a better future

Author: Bashar Al-Ja’bari

Abeer Abu-Rizeq during a sewing class at the UN Women Madaba Oasis Centre. Photo: UN Women/Bashar Al-Jabari

Abeer Abu-Rizeq, a 48-year-old from Jordan, found herself facing challenging circumstances. Divorced and a mother to a 13-year-old child, she previously owned her own shop. However, life took a difficult turn after her divorce, compounded by a health issue that led to the amputation of her right foot. Her transformative journey at the UN Women operated Oasis Centre in Madaba, funded by the European Union through the Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis, the Madad Fund, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, reflects the empowering impact of the Oasis centre on vulnerable women’s lives.

”I am very grateful that I learnt about this centre and the courses it offers. I found out about it through my friends. My acceptance into the programme came at just the right time, which was much needed, as I am divorced now and have a son whom I need to take good care of. Additionally, I have a disability that makes my condition quite challenging,” Abeer stated.

The project’s overall objective is to enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian and resilience-building efforts in Jordan, particularly for vulnerable Jordanian and Syrian women refugees. Since late 2021, UN Women Jordan has been engaged in redesigning the Oasis model, with focus on maximizing project synergies for transformational impact, enhancing the quality of interventions, and increasing investment in inclusive national systems for deeper impact and sustainability. For Abeer, this experience was a transformative challenge. “This experience was challenging in a good way; I was able to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. Everyone at the centre was very understanding and supportive. Also, people here helped me choose the course that’s more suitable for my case, I wanted to register in the Aesthetician training course, but they recommended the tailoring course, which I found highly enjoyable and beneficial”.

Abeer initially worried about the accessibility of the centre due to her disability. She didn’t know how accessible the place will be and how easy it will be for her to move around and cope with the new experience. However, she found that the facilities were well-equipped, and the staff were always ready to assist when needed.

Abeer’s passion for tailoring grew, and she excelled in her craft. Her main challenge was in the distance between her home and the centre, but she gradually adjusted. “The salary I received during my time at the centre was a great assistance, it made many things easier for me at that time. After the course I started my own business again, but this time from home. I am working as a tailor, developing my skills and always trying new techniques.”

Abeer Abu-Rizeq during a sewing class at the UN Women Madaba Oasis Centre. Photo: UN Women/Bashar Al-Jabari

“I recommended the course to many women within my circle. Even now that I have completed it, I still like to pay visits to the centre, meet with the facilitators and other women. I also hope there will be more courses that I can register for in the future.”

For Abeer, the journey has been about continuous self-improvement. “My advice to all women is to always work on themselves and keep learning. It’s always nice to learn new things that make us improve. There are always people out there willing to help and guide us.”

Abeer’s dream for the future involves expanding her tailor business, acquiring new equipment, and ensuring a stable source of income for her and her family. Her story exemplifies the positive impact of the Oasis Centre on women’s lives in Jordan.