Livelihood program helps displaced woman start over again
“My hair and beauty salon is a proof that I exist.” Said Sherien, a 36-year-old woman with glittering that reflected her struggle as she shared her story of pain, despair and success.
Sherien started to work as a hairdresser in Homs since she turned 18. She used to enjoy a peaceful, cozy family life with her parents, her two sister and brother. “Our family members are very close, my niece Lara sometimes calls me Mom”
Luckily, Lara was away on a trip to Damascus when A-Qusair neighborhood in Homs was attacked. Sherien expressed her relief that Lara wasn’t there to witness the horrifying three days they spent in a basement. She couldn’t talk long about these three days, but her pauses and her deep eyes said it all.
After fleeing to Damascus, Sherien suffered from a deep depression as the news arrived about her family home and her brother’s restaurant being destroyed. Everything seemed to be falling apart, and for the simple hairdresser with no college education, Sherien’s hope in life began to fade.
“It was Lara, my niece who led me out of this state.” Said Sherien.
“She looked up to me as a role model and it was hard on me to let her down” I wanted to stand up again for her, I named the salon after her.”
It was a turning point for Sherien, after her decision, she applied to hairdressing Courses conducted by our partner Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (GOPA), the courses are part of UNHCR’s vocational Training Programme. She excelled and got two certificates in hairdressing and makeup, and she was just getting started.
Sherien later completed Entrepreneurial skills training course which qualified her to apply for a Small Business Grand from UNHCR, designed to help the displaced people inside Syria to start their own businesses, which in Sherien’s case, was a beauty and hairdressing Salon.
The new salon blew a fresh breath not only in Sherien’s life, but in the life of her family as well. Her brother is giving her a helping hand, and Lara, her young niece is excelling in school. Sherien’s hard work and determination gave her and her family hope for a new and better life.