Target Program

2018 Site Visit to Hope Beyond Displacement Part V - Vocational Training & Economic Empowerment / Bonus Material

Tricia R. Saur, Target Chair with contributions by Site Visit Participants

 

When CRP staff approached the women at the community center to find out their most pressing needs, they received feedback showing a wish to earn money to help relieve some of their economic burdens. To meet this need Hope Beyond Displacement will provide 180 women skills to generate income!

  • 120 women will complete the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) computer skills training. Of which  45 women will study further to learn computer coding skills.

  • 60 women will complete an economic empowerment program which provides training in cosmetology and self-employment skills.

SV Beauty 1One of the highlights of our visit was a 90-minute session filled with beauty treatments provided by the new graduates. After a moment’s hesitation, the FAWCO ladies let down their guards and went all in allowing themselves to be pampered and giving the beauticians an opportunity to practice their new skills. Soon the rooms were filled with laughter and chatter.  Let’s hear what WangDi Schadendorf (AWC Hamburg) and Sherry Mikdashi (AWC Lebanon) had to say”

The Beauty Salon

“The two rooms are small, 10 m2 each at the most. One is the official training ground for CRP’s Beauty Salon program.  The other is a makeshift to accommodate the sudden influx of customers from FAWCO’s 22-member group.

The young women appear to be shy in postures but assertive in their voices during the Q & A period. Not particularly comfortable in the spotlight myself, I sit quietly in the crowd and observe the unmistakable eagerness expressed in the eyes of the young women, welcoming the precious opportunity to showcase their newly acquired skills.

SV Beauty 2

Amy, Julie, Hope and Stacey - receiving Henna Tattoos

Our visit to CRP has been both emotionally tormenting and uplifting.  The story upon story shared with us by refugees fleeing from war-torn countries form tight knots in our stomachs and hearts, force up quiet sobs and uncontrolled tears down our cheeks.  Amid the cruelly interrupted past and an uncertain future, some of the refugees find an oasis on the CRP grounds, where confidence and resilience are being rebuilt through its leadership, skill and vocational training programs.  

SV Beauty 3

Therese and Sallie receiving manicures - Nimisha showing off her henna tattoo

Offered a wide range of beauty treatments by the Beauty Salon students,  we are divided into two groups, stationed in those two tiny  rooms, ready to be pampered with threading, nail polishing, facials, haircut and styling, hand and feet painting and makeup applications.  

The two rooms instantly become alive with motions and murmurs ignited by the excitement among us all: chairs re-arranged to create individual work spaces; tools and products procured to meet the demand; and words exchanged to discuss and confirm treatment options. The brilliant sun casts its warm rays through the window bars into the rooms, smiles are seen everywhere accompanied by giggles as well as our group’s signatory gasps in exclamation.  Occasional laughs and clasps of hands burst out loud in the open air.

I don’t understand the rapid exchange between students, nor do I know the names of any of the students or the teacher.  I am captivated by their concentration at work, their effort in conversing in broken English to ensure everything with us is okay, their proud yet reserved smiles when we nod our heads and shake hands to signal the appreciation and gratitude for their work.  I am quite certain that behind each name there is a heartbreaking personal story about abandoned homes, lost family and friends, and an uncertain future. But at this very moment, their learning at CRP has given them a new meaning in life; in turn, life at this very moment in these two tiny rooms seems to be bringing out the best from these young refugee women: a moment of happiness.” - WangDi Schadendorf (AWC Hamburg)

SV Beauty 4 with WangDi

WangDi with the beauticians

“For me, one of the most amazing parts of our site visit to the Collateral Repair Project in Amman Jordan to see first hand the results of Fawco's sponsorship of the CRP's initiative Hope Beyond Displacement program to empower refugee women and girls was the beauty salon. That's right. The beauty salon.

A part of the Women's vocational training program is the training of 60 women in cosmetology, the Hair and Beauty Program, and self employment skills... giving them hope by giving them the ability to earn money wherever they may settle in the future.

In March the first group of women graduated from this rigorous six month program and each student was given a package of various hair and beauty equipment and supplies to use on their future clients.

Perfect timing?Just in time for our visit? I am sure we all thought so. So we put ourselves or maybe I should say we were put in the capable hands of these amazing women who had overcome so much!

SV Beauty 5

Ann and Tara got their hair trimmed and Valerie had her brows threaded

Looking around me while having my nails done professionally for the first time ever by a 19-year-old young lady who had fled from ISIS in Iraq with her family, I saw other "clients" having their hair cut or curled, one getting a steamy facial, others a pedicure or manicure like me, some having makeup applied, others having threading done to remove unwanted facial hair and last but not least henna designs applied to hands and feet! All under the watchful eye of their trainer, a refugee who once had her own beauty salon before being forced to flee her country.

SV Beauty 6

Patti, Sherry and Tricia - receiving manicures.

The beauty salon was a beehive of activity. Speaking the same language not a barrier to beauty. The strength, resilience, and new found confidence in themselves of these women who had been "collateral damage" was awe inspiring. And may I mention happy?

There truly is Hope Beyond Displacement.”

- Sherry Mikdashi (AWC Lebanon)

 

SV Beauty 7

Julia, Kathy and Teresa - our Glamour Girls!

Connecting over Shared Meals and Cooking

Throughout the three days we shared meals with the staff and volunteers at CRP - we sat together at improvised long table in the courtyard and enjoyed both conversation and dishes which were new to most of us. We also had opportunities to observe or even help prepare some meals. These relaxed moments communing together allowed everyone to connect on common ground - food!

SV food 1

 

In reflecting on her experience, Stacey Kimmig (AIWC Cologne) wrote this poem:

Sharing of dishes
Brings us closer together
Cultures for tasting

“We all cook with basically the same ingredients: peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, rice, potatoes, etc. But we each add our own individual spices, which is what makes the ingredients of a dish feel like home: our comfort food. Thank you to the refugees for sharing their taste of home, currently so far away, with us. It gave us a glimpse of what has been taken from them, as well as what parts of home they can take with them: their comfort food.”  - Stacey Kimmig (AIWC Cologne)


SV food 2 Fatteh Pickles Mara

 

Amy Patrick (North American Connection) shares her blog post titled “Cooking with the Refugees”:

“What do refugees and expats have in common? They all crave the tastes of their homelands. No matter what life or food is like in their new home countries, there comes a time when all they want is the reassurance and familiarity that can only be found in the comfort foods from their childhoods. On the third day of our site visit to the Collateral Repair Project in Amman, Jordan, we were greeted with the smiling faces of women refugees standing over raw ingredients, eagerly awaiting the chance to show us how to prepare their favorite dishes from home.

As an adventurous eater, I was really looking forward to this session, knowing that all of the finished products would be set out for lunch later. The CRP coordinators had done an excellent job in recruiting a cross-section of cuisine. There were home cooks from Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Jordan, overseeing enough food each to feed a small army.

SV food 3 Faiskh Al Baytiujan1The first table I visited was hosted by a refugee from Sudan who was preparing an appetizer. She had a dish of sautéed garlic, eggplant, green bell pepper and carrot in front of her with another dish of chopped raw tomatoes beside it. She explained that the tomatoes would be cooked separately with some peanut butter, lemon juice and water. Eyebrows were raised, then we followed her into the kitchen to see how this craziness was going to turn out. (She explained that at this point, Jordanians would also include mayo in their version of the dish. We talked her out of that and she seemed happy that we wanted the true Sudanese version.) Once all of the ingredients had cooked down a bit, she added the previously sautéed veggies to the pan, combined everything, then it was done. I happily spooned some on to my plate later at lunch time and was pleasantly surprised at how well all of the ingredients worked together. Put this fancy baba ganoush-like dip on top of the local flat bread, and you’ve got a great snack.

Next, we visited an Iraqi woman who was crafting lamb dumplings from two different grinds of meat. The course, fattier lamb with chopped onions and spices was formed into small parcels with a more finely-ground, leaner cut of lamb then wrapped around it. She showed us a pot of stock made from water and lamb bones that she had simmered for quite a while. She removed the bones, then popped the dumplings into the simmering stock until they were cooked through. These, too, were delicious – though, full disclosure, I have yet to meet a dumpling I didn’t like. I commented that this lamb dumpling-making process was quite painstaking and time consuming and the woman explained that these dumplings were made for special occasions such as weddings or birthdays. I thanked her for making such an effort to share them with us, since our visit didn’t fall into a family festivity category.

SV food 4 Mansef with group side

Patti, Julie, Sandy and Margie - pose with the Iraqi cook and group translator / Mansef

I didn’t get to make it around to every station before lunch but I could see that the Arabic lamb and rice dish, mansef, was being presented on a huge platter and that a custard for dessert was in process on the stove. Even though every cooking station featured a different dish, the smiles were universal. These women all seemed genuinely proud of their cooking skills and happy to educate us on their culture’s comfort foods. It reminded me that when I moved from my home state of Georgia out to California, I would sometimes cook up a batch of chicken-fried steak with gravy for dinner parties when I felt a little homesick. The Californians loved it and the dish shared more about me with my new friends. I’m still using the same trick to get to know people after eight years of living in England, which makes me very appreciative that the refugees at CRP were willing to share a bit of themselves with us through their food.”

Amanda invited the group to her home for mezza and wine on Friday evening.

SV food 5 Dinner at Amandas 1

SV food 6 Dinner at Amandas

SV food 7 Dinner at Amandas

SV food 8 Dinner at Amandas

The Hope Workshop

SV HW 1 AP Quilt at CRPThe site visit closed with a visit with the women of the Hope Workshop. While this is not a program element of the Target Project, FAWCO has a relationship with the handcraft collective and we had something very special to share with them.  Several women from the collective had embroidered squares depicting their experiences of war, which the Advocacy Project (as US based NGO) used to create two Refugee Quilts. Therese Hartwell, FAUSA President and Chair of the Human Rights Team has been displaying one of the quilts for the past year and brought it with her so the women could see the final product produced with their squares.

 

“Several women in the Hope Workshop had been asked to make quilt squares that illustrated the journeys that had brought them to Jordan as refugees. We had the honor of seeing the ladies' touching reactions when they saw the finished quilt for the first time. Several of the ladies spoke to our group about their participation in this project. As a speaker and speech coach, I was “touched, moved and inspired” (TMI’ed) by these ladies. Two in particular:

One woman wore western clothing and spoke about how proud she was to be a part of the project and CRP.  She told us she wasn't educated and that her life is devoted to her family. But the way she spoke, her manner, her conviction, her flashing eyes, her power ... I felt that under different life circumstances, she would have the personal power to be a leader. Perhaps she is a "leader" in her life now but doesn't realize it. When I complimented her on her words and told her how "powerful" she is, she beamed. I suspect she had not heard those words before. 

SV HW 2 site visit

The other woman wore traditional clothing. She spoke with such enthusiasm and had so much she wanted to tell us that the translator had to break in several times to translate. The woman's twinkling eyes and overwhelming pride were palpable as she described how important CRP is to her. When I complimented her on her speech and her "power", she was overwhelmed by the compliment.

Words have tremendous power”. - Celeste Brown (AWC The Hague)

 

SV HW 3 at work 1“Women at the Hope Workshop work together in a safe and sociable atmosphere with their friends.  Together they sew, crochet, embroider and make Advent and Ramadan calendars. The CRP accompanies the women to markets to sell their handmade goods.  90% of all money made goes directly to the women and the rest goes back into materials. This allows women to make money with dignity and helps them to support their families.   

Spending time with members of the Hope Workshop, I could feel this is a wonderful place for women, unable to work in Jordan, gathering together to socialize while they work creatively.   The Hope Workshop provide opportunities for both.

We were so warmly welcomed by the women of the Hope Workshop.  They were filled with smiles and pride in the beautiful crafts that they wanted to share with us.  This was not just to offer the items for sale but to talk about how they had made them. One of my fondest memories was while we did not speak the same language nor have a translator we could communicate.  I joined with 2 women from the Hope Workshop who shared photos from their phone to share their story. One of the women showed me the gnomes the women create and sell in 2 sizes as decorations and door stops.   The women I was “talking to” told me that she had the idea to add a rim to the cap making the gnome more Jordanian looking. This has been a great success for the gnomes and they continue to use her idea. With photos, smiles and lots of hand gestures, she got her messages across to me and I congratulated her.  Before we sat down for the workshop, she took a few “selfies” of us. What a warm and friendly welcome.” - Hope Moore (Munich IWC)

SV HW 4 sales items all

“This workshop gave me hope. I saw all of the ladies were so proud of what they had accomplished, whether it was embroidery or making the dolls or crocheting or knitting and that they were so happy to show us their fruits of their labor and they knew that we loved all of their artistic work. They were beaming when they were presented the quilt and saw their squares. Each square was a labor of love and they were so happy at this point that I was so happy too.

Art and crafts making is such a wonderful way to express oneself and the pride that I saw in their eyes was really moving to me. It showed also that they can create small items to sell and thereby mount an entrepreneurial business. Working together they can create a community and be successful. Building from their hands and their hearts they make a better place for themselves and their families.

For me, this pride in creating art through craft and original and traditional design is a very important component for increasing self worth and positive good.” - Sandy Gogel (AWG Paris)

Bonus Feature - Overall Impressions

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)

By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me.

“I couldn't get this poem by my favorite poet, Emily Dickinson out of my head when we were at the the Collateral Repair Project seeing for ourselves the hope the Hope Beyond Displacement project has given to so many women and their children.

Dickinson describes metaphorically hope as a feathered bird perched permanently in the soul of every human that never stops singing. So true but sometimes that little bird needs help to keep on signing. And that is what I feel the Hope Beyond Displacement program has and is doing.” - Sherry Mikdashi (AWC Lebanon)

“What had made a great impression upon me at the Collateral Repair Project, CRP, was the nurturing and welcoming community it has created.  CRP gives off such a positive vibe. The staff members are well-trained, caring, dedicated individuals who do their best to help those who knock on their door.  The building has beautiful and colorful images painted on its exterior as well as interior walls. Many of the people who come to CRP seem quite happy to be there, because CRP fosters a sense of belonging and dignity for those who come.

This experience has changed me. My awareness of the struggles and injustices refugees face has increased. I am awed by the strength and resilience of the refugees. Even though they had been through so much, they were able to have a positive outlook. I am inspired by Amanda Lane and her staff members who put their heart and soul into making CRP the wonderful place it is for those who had faced the horrors of conflict within their home countries.” - Tara Scott (AWC Central Scotland)

“Since I returned from Jordan and the CRP, I have been thinking about the refugees, about their living conditions, their trauma, the need to build new lives in an unknown and foreign place. I feel great empathy for them and was so impressed and happy to see the work of the project. It gives them a community, a purpose, friendship, and really, it’s about desperately needed love for one’s fellow human beings. But my feelings were distant and intellectual. I had a hard time writing about it without feeling that everything I said was already said, was superficial. The young man who taught the kids yoga; I could have written about how he made them laugh and how he hopped and wobbled around himself to tease them and make them at ease about their own abilities, how he was teaching them something special about themselves – as well as a little secret just for them, how to count to ten in Japanese. I could have written about the pride of the women in the beauty school class about their new skills, and their need for more professional tools. The manicurists’ need for an autoclave to sterilize their tools or how their new skills give them a sense of pride and a way to access some desperately needed additional income.

But it wasn’t until a tornado struck my home town and took out a nearby little state park where I had spent much of my childhood- a place of birthday cookouts, family hikes, girl scout camping, my first hike up to the top of something, my first beer… Seeing the footage of it devastated beyond recognition made me cry. Just a park. Not my house, not my neighborhood, not my family, not my job, not my friends, not the grocery store, the mosque, not the water system, and, not in hate. Just a force of nature. Not a loss of community. Not a loss of livelihood. Not a loss of lives.  Not a loss of statehood. It was nothing compared with that. After all that happens to the refugees in Jordan, their resilience is stunning. It is then that the work of the CRP starts.” - Anne Riz (AWC Bern)

“I came away from Collateral Repair Project overwhelmed by the welcome we were given, by the vision and commitment of the CRP staff, and by the bonds of respect, tolerance, empathy and support among the members of the CRP community. The organization's resources are stretched to the limits yet they are always thinking of how they can do more - for example, their expansion to provide services to the most recent wave of refugees in Jordan who come from Somalia, Sudan and Yemen and whose needs are different than those of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Our three days as part of the CRP community were inspiring and humbling, moving and uplifting, poignant and yet joyful. I am convinced that the programs funded by Hope Beyond Displacement are having a greater impact than we in FAWCO had dared to imagine.” - Sallie Chaballier (AAWE Paris), FAWCO President

Donations

Before we left we were honored to share your in-kind donations. Look at all these wonderful supplies. We were overwhelmed with what you brought to the IM in The Hague and a little unsure how we would get everything to Jordan - but with some creative packing, we did! Then the site visit participants showed up in Jordan with more!!

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SV Donation 1

Beauty Supplies: combs & brushes, 500+ emery boards, 75+ nail polishes,

and more hair bands & clips  than I would dare try to count! 

 

SV Donation 2

SV Donation 3

Education Supplies: hundreds of crayons & colored pencils (maybe a thousand!), scissors,

various craft supplies, magnetic drawing boards, stamp sets, stickers,

fun erasers and possibly the softest teddy bears in the world!

Thank you for your unending generosity!

_______________________________________

On behalf of the FAWCO delegation I would like to thank Amanda Lane and the entire CRP community for opening their doors and warmly welcoming us in. With special thanks to Lilly Crown and Astonia Sami for their time and effort in planning for our arrival and taking care of us for three days. We take away lasting impressions which we share with friends, family and the FAWCO community to spread the word about the work CRP is doing in Amman, Jordan on behalf of refugees. 

 

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