Target: UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Goal: Applaud women’s program in Syrian refugee camp for providing an educational safe haven
Millions have been displaced from their homes in Syria, fleeing to refugee camps to find safety with their families. One camp in particular, the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, hosts a Women and Girls Oasis. It is a safe place for women and children to find support, as well as learn valuable day-to-day skills. Applaud the UN Women’s efforts and the Zaatari Refugee Camp for giving these people a peaceful and educational home.
The camp currently hosts 120,000 Syrians; 55% of that population is made up of women. The UN Women’s Oasis opened in the camp during fall 2012 as a pilot program for helping victims of war-torn areas. The goal is to provide women with a safe place where they can learn, find support, recover strength, and ultimately discover the tools they need to build new lives for themselves. Women are educated in a wide variety of crafts, including jewelry making and sewing, skills that can bring in an income for these refugees. Melinda Wells, Head of the UN Women Humanitarian team in Jordan, said, “Every month there are about 800 women that come for the different programs. In addition to the skills they gain here, they get the chance to talk to each other, building connections and finding shared solutions to problems.”
One of the reasons why the Oasis is so successful is because of the platform of mutual respect. Wells stated, “We try our best to follow [the Syrian women’s] lead; they are the experts on what they need to build the skills and capacity to face their challenges right now in the Camp, and in everything that comes after.” In return, Syrian women have described the Oasis as a “source of hope.” Rana Sais, a 32-year-old woman living near the border when the civil unrest began, said, “UN Women has made us feel productive, as the income we get from these activities is helping improve the lives of our families. We want to have more families and women benefiting from such activities.”
Thank the UN Women team and the Zaatari Refugee Camp for providing these Syrian refugee women with the opportunity to continue with their lives. By forming the Oasis, these women are given a haven to find support and healing, while also learning marketable skills that help support their families. Applaud these organizations for their work in helping these families.
Dear Director Mlambo-Ngcuka,
I had the opportunity to learn about the Women and Girls Oasis you helped organize in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Due to the efforts of your organization, thousands of Syrian refugee women are given the chance to restore some peace and balance to their lives. Thank you for this important work you are doing.
The women in the Oasis are taught marketable skills—like jewelry making and sewing—that can in turn bring in money for their families. This program not only helps them monetarily, but also mentally. The group provides support as women heal and find strength during this upheaval in their lives. The work done by the UN Women is desperately needed and I commend you for this work.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: DFID—UK Department for International Development via Flickr