Mays El Reem Al Bakir, a 26-years-old Syrian refugee who was displaced from her hometown at the age of 16, had no choice but to adapt to the new changes imposed on her and her family, as a result of the erupted Syrian war back in 2011.
“I denied reality at first, I was still processing the fact our home was diminished and had nowhere to go! I had to leave my family and friends behind. We had to co-exist with the new arrangements at the Za’atari refugee camp in Northern Jordan. It was not an easy chapter in my life”, Mays El Reem said.
After years of living in Za’tari refugee camp, Mays El Reem had high hopes of gaining the knowledge, certification, and financial independence to become a productive individual in society. Although she didn’t want to continue her education at first, the Qudra2 programme scholarship surely changed her mind, having her score the highest grades in the beauty discipline she had enrolled in.
Going back to 2020, when Mays El Reem heard about the Qudra2 programme scholarships from her friend, she applied without hesitation and got accepted. “I chose the beauty programme, as I wanted to be a part of something new and challenging”, Mays El Reem said and added, “women can be professional makeup artists, women can be anything they want as long as they set their mind to it”.
The training courses Mays El Reem applied to is a part of a larger programme, “Qudra 2” which is known to be the second phase of a large multi-country, multi-donor programme named: “Qudra– Resilience for Refugees, IDPs, Returnees and Host Communities in response to the protracted Syrian and Iraqi Crises”, that is being implemented and administered by Enabel in Jordan in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). This intervention is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular, SDG4, which vividly focuses on ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.
Along with the training courses, Enabel in Jordan promotes the Work-based Learning methodology as a part of its intervention to help beneficiaries acquire new competencies based on today’s labour market needs, by bridging them with workplaces to experience a real-life and dynamic work environment.
“The ultimate goal of this programme is to provide better living conditions for youth in Jordan, resulting in a more optimistic future outlook. Enabel is humbled to see the positive impact of this programme. We look forward to providing more opportunities to Youth in our future programmes” said Eman Hadweh, Intervention Manager.
While deciding to choose marriage over her secondary examinations, Mays El Reem vowed to learn from her setbacks and develop solid firmness and skillset whenever the opportunity represents itself again. “My husband was my backbone, he promised to support me to continue my education once we had settled in our own home. Not so long after, we did, and he bought me all the books and stationery to prepare me for the big exam. Months later, I re-did the secondary examinations and obtained my certificate in spite of the challenges and the fact that I had 5-months-old daughter to take care of”, shared Mays El Reem.
Aside from the Qudra2 programme, Mays El Reem like many other beneficiaries had to enroll in the essential life skills course, which prepared her to lay a foundation of knowledge in setting priorities right, learn how to use her time effectively, and set long-term goals. “This course made me a better person and a self-motivated thinker, I started being in the solution, not the problem, and importantly maintain a healthy mind”, said Mays El Reem.
After completing the course, Mays El Reem received funds from one of the big UN organisations, which allowed her to open up her own beauty salon and equip it with all the assets and necessary tools to kickoff. “I learned a lot working independently, people started trusting me around the refugee camp, and refer to me as their first resource for any beauty tip”, said Mays El Reem.
After finishing her scholarship with the Qudra 2 programme, Mays El Reem was asked to train beneficiaries of the beauty programme at the NRC salon centre in Za’atari refugee camp. “When I received that phone call from the NRC team announcing the good news, I felt this is the start of a new phase in my life”, said Mays El Reem.
“My second milestone is to sign up for higher level training programmes in the beauty and makeup domain, to build my capacity further and stay aligned with the latest international trends”, said Mays El Reem and added. “I usually watch makeup and beauty tutorials online when I put the kids to sleep to stay tuned with the latest styles in the industry, I need to stay looped, to make it to the top, fingers crossed." said Mays El Reem.