My name is Salam and I come from the cleansed village of Qalonya*” إسمي سلام وأنا من قرية قالونيا المهجرة عام 1948
With this sentence Salam (which means peace) started her graduation speech to her fellow graduates. A mother of four and a very ambitious student who tried hard to grasp every word offered in the lectures and use every opportunity facilitated by the center in enrichment and extracurricular activities.
When she first applied, she came to the center with her husband as their decisions were taken mutually, so Salam came here after having achieved the status of taking decisions at home on equal footing with her husband. Her aim was to be able to study and reach a point where she can be an equal in the economic status as well; to be employed was for her "an aim to offer her family a bit more than just the necessities of life"
Salam is a born leader, her personality can unify the group around her and create such a positive atmosphere and we gave her the opportunity and space to do so. She took part in receiving the Norwegian Ten Sing troupe, she was learning from the experience every moment and took a very positive and active role in introducing them to our beautiful Palestinian culture.
So what did we offer her and how did we really empower her more? Salam states that through our training we added to her "the inner feeling of strength, she feels she can now be more independent, responsible, decision maker, organized, shaping her chores as a mother and employee into a certain protocol in order to achieve her multiple roles of motherhood and employee.
We have placed her immediately in a very nice job in a travel agency and she enjoys it enormously. Salam says the role models were the teachers as they themselves were working mothers and she was a student mother who strongly related to this and was on her way to being a working mother too. She has exerted effort and time to study and it paid off very well as the result was very successful. Her kids in their turn are taking their mother as a role model and are putting more interest, time and effort into their studies just because their mom had done so earlier.
Salam says she has achieved the aim that she came for: offering the family the things that were otherwise considered luxuries; taking the family into a higher level, and she can take the decision to purchase the new items out of her own salary.
*Qalonya is/ was a Palestinian village situated on a hill in the outskirts of Jerusalem, evacuated by the Israelis who bombed the houses and forced its inhabitants to leave it in April 1948.