We train, educate and support Syrian women economically, professionally, socially and culturally. We fight illiteracy and increase women’s employment opportunities, financial independence and entrepreneurship.
Many Syrian women have had no choice but to become the sole provider for their families while also remaining as the primary caregiver, as the absence of men has increased due to arbitrary arrest, detention, and killing.
Adding to this, many women and girls in Syria have never completed or even had access to education. This problem is widespread and complex, caused by a multitude of factors, such as destruction of school buildings by the warring parties, and seeking asylum in refugee camps with no schooling center in addition to gender violence.
The empowerment program consists of different elements:
1. Women are empowered to find autonomy through vocational training courses, which include handcrafts (sewing, embroidery, and hairdressing), computer skills (digital accounting, Microsoft Office, and Photoshop), and nursing/first aid. They learn and master certain skills which are necessary in order to make an income and support their families.
2. Educational Empowerment is one of our most valued programs – it acts as the prerequisite to our other programs, as we believe intellectual development is essential to being resilient, independent, informed, and empowered. Courses in the program include literacy and foreign language courses, gender and health awareness, first aid training, computer and technology skills, and mathematics.
3. Giving small grants to women in order to secure their livelihood is aimed at alleviating unemployment and the lack of opportunities especially under siege. Specifically those women who are the main breadwinners for their families, like widows and wives of detainees, were given small grants in order to build on the skills they learned in the Women Now center.
We also established two internet cafes inside Syria and in them we provide access to the internet and train women in journalistic writing. This enables the women to connect to the world and amplifies their voices. They can speak and write about the situation of women, the siege, the perils of war and are thus able to tell their own stories instead of other people telling their stories for them.
Women Now is also working to empower other women initiatives through financial support and capacity building. We aim to strengthen them in terms of their women’s programs and their capacities as Syrian civil society organisations. We believe in strengthening women’s solidarity and other organisations capacities with our knowledge and networks in order to build civil society as a whole. In 2017, more than 120 women belonging to 12 different women initiatives in Idlib were trained in leadership courses. They are women activists and work in various fields, such as education, and they aimed to build the capacities as local leaders.
Last but not least, Women Now is also very much keen on empowering our own team. Their skills and knowledge are constantly developed and we aim to empower them to be productive members not only of our team but also the community at large. In addition, we supported our staff’s higher education and helped some of our team members to get their diplomas in psychology, biology and other fields.