Work, family independence. What do women in Amman dream of?

From Amman

“I bought the first house of my life with my own money and today, thanks to my job, I am totally independent”. Iustra Abbadi says she is lucky. She lives in Jordan, in Iraq, one of the suburbs of Amman. She is 55 years old and in 1996 she stopped working the land to dedicate herself completely to the social cooperative Iraq Al Ameer Women's Association, of which she is president. No personal story is easy to tell, but the women of Amman are kind and strong, sweet and determined. They are united among themselves, they protect the younger ones and talk about their lives with ease. They are not afraid of war “to live in these places if you are afraid, then you just have to leave”. Iustra's big black eyes show no fear or even regret. Her dream? It is to continue working to allow other women to be able to emancipate themselves.

What does work represent for you?

Work is important for feeling good. If you really want to emancipate yourself, then you have to work. Well, I think that work is like blood in your veins. Fundamental.

Was it easy to find work?

It wasn't easy. I am lucky. The cooperative was born in 1993 and I joined in 1996. Queen Nur of Jordan came here personally, she participated in the opening of the cooperative. She's the one who wanted us to move forward. It hasn't been easy, but I believe in dreams and I know we can do it. When I started working in the Iraq Al Ameer cooperative I was young. I specialized in ceramic manufacturing. The other colleagues dedicate themselves to weaving and paper processing. Together we are also trying to start other activities, such as the processing of natural soap and catering which, however, is already at a good point.

How many of you work in the cooperative and what is the turnover?

We are 25 women. Only 20 are permanent, the other 5 work when needed. Last year we had a turnover of 75,000 Dinars, approximately 100,000 Euros. This year things are different, turnover will be lower. But we don't give up.

Do girls come here asking for work?

Less and less. Today's girls study. To emancipate themselves they need to be educated, graduate and then be able to become economically independent through work. For us it was different. Economic independence was enough.

What are your next goals?

I have chosen work and my next objectives concern the expansion of activities. We have to include embroidery and tailoring to make the clothes.

Do you have a family?

I got married in December. Exactly last year. I met my husband through a colleague of mine, they are cousins. We got married, so I had to leave my home and go to live with my husband. I want to collaborate with him, just like all economically independent women do.

And a son?

Unfortunately I can't go back.

What is his dream?

Dreams are the fruit of our creativity and our small daily actions. I dream of buying the premises we are in now. I would like the cooperative to become the owner of these spaces. The annual rent is 8,000 Dinars so around 10,000 Euros, if I bought now we would spend 100,000 Dinars, so 130,000 Euros, so it's too much. If we had thought about purchasing last year we would have saved. But I am confident, I believe in these dreams.