Women Criticize Feminist Organizations’ Work in Syria’s Damascus

Syrian women have criticized efforts to help women find jobs and livelihoods, writes North Press.

Women in Damascus believe that relief and feminist organizations do not keep pace with the needs of job seekers and individuals who need support for their small projects to secure an income and help them face daily life difficulties.

Over the past years, Damascus has witnessed an increase in the number of women seeking to work in order to secure material profits that meet their needs.

After ten years of war in Syria, the need for support of women who have experienced violence and discrimination, in addition to those who have lost their husbands and children, has become evident.

Government organizations

Years before the Syrian war, government organizations claimed to support women. Some have stopped working while others are still working within their “narrow and ineffective” scope, according to women affiliated with them.

After 2016, the number of government organizations which work to support women have increased, but there are no accurate statistics because they are working secretly as they receive support from foreign countries.

Support continues despite challenges

Taghrid Hamd (a pseudonym), an internally displaced person from Yarmouk camp living in Jaramana, is still communicating with organizations to support her small project.

So far, she has not succeeded in obtaining supplies for a small preschool which she worked to open after her displacement.

Hamd can only blame herself now, as she says that “maybe there are specific steps I had to take to gain support, or because I do not have access to people experienced with the organizations’ works to help me.”

She referred to some women close to her who received support for their projects from organizations working to empower women economically.

Some working with NGOs say their work requires training workshops for women in order to master a certain profession.

Difficulties and obstacles

Nibal Salman (a pseudonym), an employee at a local organization supporting women economically, said that many obstacles hinder the work of organizations and their access to the people in Damascus.

“The most prominent of these obstacles is the difficulty in obtaining business licenses, and the organizations cannot reach a large number of targeted women and know all their problems and needs,” she told North Press.

There are predetermined programs according to which practical exercises are conducted, “and it is difficult to deviate from or bypass them,” she pointed out.

With the inability of unlicensed organizations to bear the burdens of finding solutions for women affected by war due to the oversight imposed on them, an organization may appear and disappear within months, according to activists in Damascus.

 

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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