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Syrian women consolidate their presence locally and internationally despite all challenges

Throughout history, Syrian women have been distinguished by an active role in society and by supporting   men in all aspects of life  during the terrorist war on Syria.  Their role emerged through volunteer and civil work and in small economic projects to alongside their  pioneering roles as influential and able to fulfill their  role and responsibility towards society.Syrian women will be a true partner  as they are the main pillar in their society.

Marking the International women’s Day on March the 8th , which celebrates  the social, cultural and political achievements of women, Syrian women recounted their success stories and their remarkable achievements through which they seek to take part effectively in their society.

Malak Hallaq ‘s work is not confined to beekeeping only, which some believe is restricted to men, but also she developed it  and  was able to introduce new technologies for the production of pollen locally.

Malak Hallaq , who likes to be described as the first beekeeper in Syria, is one of the first members of the Agricultural Society for Beekeeping in Damascus and holds the membership  No. 70. 

“I entered the world of beekeeping in 1989 due to my family circumstances  to continue  my father's project, who passed away leaving a group of apiaries in  Al-Ghouta in  Damascus countryside , Slenfa  and Aleppo” Mrs. Hallaq told SANA.

She pointed out that  “although I did not have sufficient knowledge in  beekeeping  but with determination  I passed difficult stages  through  reading books and benefit of others’ experiences  in addition to investing my university specialist at  the Faculty of Science in Damascus University”.

The nine-year war on Syria, according to Malak,  did not hinder her  ambition and determination  either.   When  the terrorists entered  Ghouta, she no longer had any idea about the apiaries there . 

For two years,  Malak and  her husband remained without work, but her interest in   beekeeping prompted her to start again with only two beehives to be increased  over time to reach 65  beehives .

She  indicated that  she has recently  started to return some of the apiaries to Ghouta.

The first beekeeper mentioned that her dream began to grow and she managed  to introduce new techniques to collect pollen and spread the idea to ensure local availability and reduce the import of traps, noting that it is a European technique which  she learned from an Egyptian expert.

 “The field of beekeeping is no longer specific to men, despite its  need for dedication, strength and patience.   I may be the first officially registered beekeeper, but our grandmothers preceded us to work in the fields and land, which requires physical strength.  By will, women can achieve everything they want and enter any field and change Society's stand concerning women’s work” Malak concluded.

Malak has made a new achievement  for women into a profession that was only for men which  was preceded by many successes for the Syrian woman who  scored a bright record in scientific, economic, political and professional fields.

The Syrian woman has always been a pioneer at the level of Arab and foreign  countries in the field of creativity and participation in various  world scientific events to contribute to reconstructing their homeland . 

On her part, the Syrian woman  Dr. Mala’eka  Estephan  scored a world remarkable achievement for Syrian women when she  won the  TOYP ( Ten  Outstanding Young Persons )  competition 2081  at the level of Syria  in the category of medical innovation and creativity, and in 2019  Dr. Estephan won the second place  at the TOYP at the world level.

Dr. Estephan,  who is a graduate of  Textile Engineering from Al-Baath University and holds a PhD from Aleppo University  ,  invented the first medical surgical thread locally manufactured in Syria.

She expressed  her ambition to continue research and achieves more  innovations , considering  that this is the time required for innovation and creativity and to come up with local products to face the difficult conditions and the challenges of the blockade imposed on Syria.

“It is my duty to devote  my knowledge and research to develop and rebuild my country with knowledge” Dr. Estephan expressed .

The role of the Syrian woman was embodied during the terrorist war on Syria  as she faced bad circumstances and obstacles  but she managed to stay steadfast and challenge the difficulties to raise  her children.

While Malak and Dr.  Estephan have overcome  the conditions of war and were able to continue work and creativity, Nihad Al-Yateem surpassed her difficult circumstances and fulfilled her dream of obtaining a university degree despite loosing her husband in 2006 and becoming the only breadwinner for three children, one of them with a disability and her displacement from her hometown of Maarat al-Numan in Idlib countryside as a result of terrorism.

“ I overcame sadness by getting the high school certificate  because I was confident that education is a woman’s strong weapon then I  joined the translation department - English language at Al-Baath University. With the support of a civil society I  got a  job opportunity to support my family” Mrs. Al-Yateem said  .

She  believes that she did not consider her university degree only as a source of livelihood, but rather a way to express her passion  and a reward after her difficult circumstances. 

“ Every woman should know that she has great energy and strength which is  capable of achieving a lot” she concluded.

Rawaa Ghanam