AL-Hassakeh: The hope revived
The population of Al-Hassakeh governorate has been increasingly vulnerable and has slipped into poverty. The humanitarian situation in Al-Hassakeh continues to deteriorate as it hosts over 350,000 IDPs from neighboring governorates. It hosts IDPs in addition to returning migrants who left during the drought only to return fleeing violence. Currently, Al-Hassakeh governorate is home to half a million persons, of whom 258,000 are IDPs from neighboring Deir-ez-Zor, Ar-Raqqa and Aleppo, who are in critical need for livelihood support.
UNDP was the first UN agency to implement a recovery project in Al-Hassakeh governorate in partnership with a local NGO. It established a sewing workshop in Qamishli city, providing 405 job opportunities for affected women, of whom 23 were persons with disabilities. A team of volunteers was responsible to deliver the raw materials to disabled women and train them to work from home, then to deliver the finished products to the sewing workshop. Around 31,000 pieces of clothing were produced and distributed to local residents in need.
Mariam, a 23 year old lady from Deir-ez-Zor, was one of the beneficiaries. She was able in spite of her disability to work; she was trained by a sewing specialist. She now works and contributes to the production chain from home.
“When a volunteer team from the sewing project visited me, I couldn’t imagine that I might become a productive person” she said, adding “I told them: as you see, I can’t walk!”
After a short period of time, Mariam received a wheelchair from UNDP, which allowed her to move around and gave her the opportunity to join the workshop workforce and meet with her co-workers. “I also have a better social life”.
“I lived my whole life with no hope, I always felt that I’m a burden for my poor family, and I was reluctant to ask for anything I needed. With this job I’ve become more self- confident, and I can finally help my family especially in this difficult situation,” she said happily adding “now everyone is looking at me differently including my family and my relatives. I’m finally a productive person and I earn an income.”
The workshop produced high quality items which encouraged other UN agencies to buy its products. Recently, it became self-sustained and expanded its work to meet the demand of the local market.