International Women’s Day: Refugee women tell their stories

06 March 2011

March 2011

In the run up to International Women’s Day (8 March) UNRWA takes a look at the lives of women refugees from the Agency’s five fields. The series explores personal stories of challenges and achievements, from a mother struggling to provide her family with financial security in Jordan, a young teacher inspiring her students in Lebanon, an engineer who travelled from Gaza to Haiti to help rebuild after the earthquake, to a school drop-out returning to her education in Syria.

Ensuring access to education for girls in the West Bank

Wafa’a Shihda is a 13-year-old student at UNRWA’s Al-Aqrabania school. The school exemplifies UNRWA’s efforts to ensure access to education for Palestine refugees living in the West Bank.

Read Wafaa‘s story

Abused women rebuild lives in Lebanon

Eman endured over 30 years of domestic abuse before finally liberating herself when she decided to do a vocational training course. Through her training, she was able to find a job with an NGO in one of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Read Eman‘s story

Rebuilding Gaza in Haiti

The construction business in Gaza, like in other countries around the world, is dominated by men. However, a growing number of women are entering this industry. Huda Atalla, an engineer who has worked with UNRWA since 2002, is one of them.

Read Huda‘s story

High-achieving teacher inspires young refugees

Palestinian refugee Manal Zaher is explaining the puzzling world of basic maths to her students. Eight-year-old Riham adds and subtracts using her fingers. Khalid on the other side of the table peeks at Omar’s worksheet trying to figure out the answers.

Read Manal’s story

School dropout gets second chance to achieve her dream

Ala’a Ali is 16 and dropped out of school last year. She was one of more than 260 refugee children who dropped out of UNRWA schools in Syria last year. This statistic, which constitutes a 0.4 dropout rate, is seemingly low, but remains unacceptable for the staff of UNRWA’s education department, who have launched a new programme for inclusive education to help students like Ala’a.

Read Ala’a’s story

Women refugees pull their families out of poverty

“I heard about UNRWA loans from my neighbour. She told me that I can take a loan to start my own business”, explains Amneh Abu Salim. Amneh, better known as Um Hussein, is a 60 year old mother of 12 living in Baqa’a camp in Jordan.

Read Amneh‘s story

Time to Make the Promise of Equality a Reality

A hundred years ago today, women across the world took an historic step on the long road to equality. The first ever International Women’s Day was called to draw attention to the unacceptable and often dangerous working conditions that so many women faced worldwide.

Read Michelle Bachelet‘s Message

Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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