Making a difference in the life of children under dramatic circumstances



From Syria

"I am happy to be part of DRC family and having the chance to make a difference in the life of children under such a dramatic situation in Syria nowadays"

By Zainab Somayya, Vocational and Livelihood Project Officer, DRC Syria.

Leila is a Syrian woman in her twenties that is living with a family of eight members. She and her family are living in a very fragile economic environment, due to the father's illness.

At an early stage of her life, and after taking her 9th grade diploma, Leila found herself forced to look for work, in order to support her family and cover her tuition fees. She moved between different jobs, and finally she ended up working as a private teacher for children.

At the beginning, Leila received a huge rejection from her family's side, and especially her two brothers, who had great fears as she is a girl. But she managed to convince them and started with a small number of children in her neighborhood. Leila remembers her experience at that time by saying:

"I was exhausted, considering that I was studying and working at the same time. I was taking only 100 SYP per lesson (less than 1 USD), and in many cases I used to work voluntary due to the poverty of the children's families, however that didn't detract my motivation and determination, I was happy that I was working with children, and able to pay my own expenses."

Getting enrolled in a childcare course at the Women Resource Centre (WRC)–partnership project between UNRWA and DRC was a "huge step toward the future." With these words Leila recalls her experience at WRC in 2012, and how it reflected positively on her psychological and social resilience, and how it developed her basic skills, and inspired her to realize her ultimate ambition - working with children.

“I chose this training because I always liked working with children, and it strengthened my knowledge of child development stages. I was happy to have new friends from different countries and I benefited from the awareness sessions particularly on the health and legal issues," Leila says.

After graduating from the WRC, Leila followed her dream and applied for several work opportunities to reach her potentials in that field. At the moment, she is working as a teacher in DRC community Centre in Jaramana for children in the after school program.

"I am proud that I was able to achieve my dream, and I am happy to be part of DRC family, and having the chance to make a difference in the life of children under such a dramatic situation in Syria nowadays," Leila says.

For the time being, Leila is supporting her family in addition to her brother's family after he was kidnapped in June 2012, and she's planning to continue her university study in the field of child care.

Her determination and persistence are quite inspirational and the thing that encouraged her family to be very cooperative after observing her progress and the impact she had on other people around her.

DRC is one of the few INGOs that have been authorized in 2007 by the Syrian authorities to operate in the country and provide assistance for refugees and vulnerable members in the host communities.

During 2010-2012, through a partnership with UNRWA, DRC worked in the Women Centre to provide a wide range of activities and interventions towards enhancing self-reliance and protection for women at risk, including: life skills sessions, vocational trainings, tool kits, advanced livelihood packages (e.g. micro-grants schemes, business management skills)