The resilient women of Syria: Plumbing project in Tartous Governorate
The region of Tartous has been relatively peaceful during the Syrian civil war. However, while a significant portion of the Governorate is not directly affected by major armed conflict, it has continued to register a huge inflow of families fleeing other parts of the country, mostly from Homs, Hama, Idleb, Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, and Deir Ezzor, with women and children accounting for the largest percentage.
The governorate received about 452,000 IDPs and around 200,000 of them are in need of humanitarian assistance, mainly in Tartous city, Mashta Hellou and Banyas. Around 1,600 families reside in 21 collective shelter, 14 of them are located in Tartous city and 7 in the other districts in the governorate.
The resources of the governorate are completely overstretched and reported to be reaching breaking point as a result of sustained IDP influx and pressures from the existing IDP population.
This increased number of IDPs in Tartous has weakened the social services and limited the capacity of the local municipalities and administrative units to conduct the periodic maintenance and repairs to the sanitation in shelters and host communities, which led to waste large amounts of water as a result of water pipes breakdowns and the formation of water swamps in shelters. Additionally, the spread of diseases, insects and rodents increased.
All that has been mentioned above has motivated UNDP to support an initiative to provide job opportunities in the field of plumbing to a number of IDPs and host community members, and giving them the necessary toolkits for this work.
Aisha is one of the female workers who had to flee with her husband and her five children from the devastating conditions in Aleppo and took refuge in Tartous governorate, in Al-Karnak area.
At the beginning she lived with her family in a very small room they barely fit in, their living conditions were devastating. "Necessity is the mother of invention" she said, adding “there is nothing wrong if a woman worked to help her husband, together we can make a more productive outcome.”
Aisha has joined the plumbing project from its early beginning and started benefiting from the drainage tool kit that was given to her in fixing some water foists within the shelter. Her main concern was to be able to buy the necessary needs to her children along with educating them, buying their school uniforms and other school necessities. "The most important thing for me is to be able to send my children to school; I’ll use the money to buy their school uniforms." she said. Using the money she earned from working in this project, she was able to build a second room with her husband, which significantly enhanced their living situations. "Syrian women are strong and they are capable of working in any field, there are no exclusive jobs for men" she said with a smile in her face.