Building Skills and Increasing Employability in Northeast Syria

Refugees and displaced people in northeast Syria have talents, skills, and aspirations, but often not the opportunities to pursue them. Our teams in Syrian displacement camps offer skill-building workshops that keep people engaged, learning, and working toward employability.

In one camp, residents have access to a variety of workshops where they can take courses on tailoring, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical engineering. Participants are offered the necessary supplies to put their new skills into practice. Held in Blumont’s community centers, these sessions are accessible to men, women, and youth, including people with disabilities.

Yasmin opens her own sewing shop

Yasmin, a mother of two, was 20 years old when she fled her hometown in Mosul, Iraq due to conflict and attacks by ISIS. After losing her husband during the journey to Syria, Yasmin became the sole breadwinner for her family. She felt stigmatized by the community for being a single mother and stayed in her tent more and more. Her mental health was plummeting, exacerbated by the loss of so many family members.

Yasmin picked up her sewing skills by taking classes offered by Blumont in the displacement camp where she lives.

Seeing her condition, some of Yasmin’s neighbors encouraged her to attend Blumont’s sewing sessions, where learning new skills and making friends built up her self-confidence.

“Blumont gave me the opportunity to master sewing and I decided to buy my own sewing machine to work on at home,” said Yasmin. “I established my own workshop inside the camp that allows me to continue practicing sewing and support my family.”

The workshop provides Yasmin with a source of income through which she can support herself and her family. Yasmin now teaches other women and girls how to sew. She has also become an inspiration for other widows living in the camp who are considering how to provide for their own families.

Muhanad becomes the neighborhood electrician

Muhanad fled Iraq five years ago when he was 13 years old and is now living with seven other family members in one tent. Exposed to poverty, Muhanad sought a way to support his family. He signed up as soon as he heard about Blumont’s electrical engineering training. At first, he was nervous about attending because he had never dealt with electrical wiring before, but he decided to challenge himself.

“I got used to being alone and isolated, so I only had a few friends and limited relationships. But now, after the sessions, I have close friends from different backgrounds that I meet with every day,” said Muhanad.

Muhanad not only made new friends at these sessions but also built new technical abilities. Using his knowledge, Muhanad became a resource for his family members and neighbors, offering his support whenever they needed an electrician.

Muhanad took a course to be trained as an electrician and is now working for his neighbors in the displacement camp.

“Now, I am responsible for electrical repairs, not only for my relatives and neighbors but also for my entire block,” said Muhanad. “I started planning for my future and am trying to manage my finances. I have gained decision-making and problem-solving skills.”

Since the training, Muhanad has purchased his own supplies and is troubleshooting electrical and wiring problems for generators throughout the camp. He hopes to save up enough money to open his own business, where he can offer electrical repair services for home appliances. One day, he aspires to train other young people in the camp so they can find work, too.