A Displaced Syrian Woman Turns her Suffering into a Successful Project

Women in Syria have faced great challenges and difficulties during the nine-year war , but they have been able to prove their ability to adapt to  conditions and overcome  challenges through their mastery of work  in addition to their determination to succeed in any experience they go through .

Inaam Shaheen is one of the displaced Syrian women , who came to Lattakia from Aleppo province and  managed to transform her strenuous circumstances by diligence  into success . 

Shedding light on this unique successful story  Syriatimes e-newspaper interviewed Mrs. Shaheen who said “we had  nothing  when we came to Lattakia after we had left Aleppo due to terrorist threats and we were in need  of work.  In a small shop in “ Ein Al-Baida” village  in Lattakia countryside , where I stayed with my family, I started  manufacturing  dishwashing liquid and laurel and olive oil soap  in a primitive way and selling  them  to the people of the village” .  

 Mrs. Shaheen, who recently obtained the ISO 9001 certificate, underlined that  thanks to  the support of the Rural Women ‘s  Development Department at Lattakia’s Agriculture Directorate  she was able to display her products  at  the Permanent  Marketing Center of rural women’s products  and take part in different local exhibitions   which helped her  market her products. 

She  noted  that her critical step was after  she got a loan from the rural women development  which helped her to  improve the production and introduce  new 15  products  of  natural and medical plants  including  fragrant ,  medicinal and laurel soaps, shampoo, lotion, day and night creams and perfumes.   

Shaheen  expressed her happiness that through  expanding her project she could provide   job opportunities to  her family and 5 families of Ein Al-Baida   village through  packaging and   marketing  .

The displaced Syrian woman was successful  in combining between her project and her family's academic and scientific experience in manufacturing as her husband   holds a PhD  in petrochemicals and her son is a student at the Faculty of Chemistry at Tishreen University.

“ My  products, which bear the name (BRIX), currently reach various governorates and have  agents there  . I  remember  proudly that with the launch of my  project I  was selling my  products without any  profit, as I  wanted to promote my  products and introduce their quality” Shaheen expressed.

Her husband Dr.  Ali Kharboutli said “we thought of investing our experience and our studies, especially with nature in the village of “ Ein Al-Baida” which is  rich in natural medical plants  from which essential oils can be extracted  and we  sought  to be mediators between nature  and consumers”.

He  indicated that they  developed the  primitive manufacturing method by introducing new materials    which encouraged the Rural Women ‘s Development Department to adopt their  project. 

Dr. Kharboutli attributed the big move of the project from a small room to a large workshop to the quality of the product, which witnessed  an increased demand. This  prompted them  to increase the manufacturing capacity  as well as  expand the work and marketing staff .  

On their part,  Shaheen’s son Ahmed Kharboutli  and his wife Nour Hussein stressed  the importance of employing scientific expertise in practical application, which was positively reflected on the product.  

Eng. Rabab Wardeh , Head of the  Rural Women’s  Development Department  at  Lattakia Directorate of Agriculture told Syriatimes “ undoubtedly, women are an integral part of today’s society and it is crucial to recognize their vital role in sustainable development”.

She underscored that the department’s plans aim at empowering rural women socially, economically and financially creating job opportunities and supporting rural women’s small projects to improve their living conditions.

Eng. Wardeh  indicated that the department currently  supports 375 women, each of whom has a success story, including Enaam Shaheen, noting that the department has followed  Inaam’s  work closely by taking samples and analyzing them in accredited laboratories.

She underlined that the department  provides  marketing assistance,  displaying rural women’s products at permanent marketing centers and carries out  free training courses for rural women to develop their skills.

“Anam Shaheen is  a role model  to be followed by all Syrian women with her patience, persistence, challenge, superiority and creativity. I feel proud  of rural women’s products  because they were made by hands of love, steadfastness, hope ,  creativity, ambition and adherence  to their homeland. I hope to see all women achieving success stories through their work” . Eng Wardeh concluded. 

Interviewed by : Rawaa Ghanam

Photos by : Rawaa Ghanam