Dalal Al-Bish: I am illiterate, but I have succeeded in encouraging tens of women to learn
- updated: December 25, 2020
her career as a hairstylist in Damascus where she lived in 2004. “Since
the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, my family and I decided to go back to
Idlib leaving the life we established in Damascus during the past 20 years to
start over from scratch. I opened a beauty salon to provide for the family. at
that time, I decided to register myself and my 14-year-old daughter in a nursing
course, given that the area is being bombed and every home needs a paramedic”
while, I noticed an increase in the number of women and girls in my
surroundings to take part in similar courses. Therefore, with the help of my
husband, I opened a training centre in my home in Marian, the centre offered
nursing, grooming courses for more than two years without any support, until it
received a grant from one donor, and with voluntary efforts, it became the only
centre that provides support for women and children in Jabal Al-Zawiya” added
Dalal recalls her feelings at the beginning of the revolution saying “At
the beginning, I was afraid of the consequences of these protests, but when I
saw people insisting on going out against injustice and demanding freedom, I
could only join them”. “We were brought up in fear and repression, and speaking
of politics and criticizing the regime was forbidden even within Homes” she
On her motive to participate in the revolution against the regime, Dalal
says: The chant of ” down with the regime ” meant a lot to me,
because we heard about the crimes committed by the regime in Hama, and we
ourselves lived through oppression and injustice under its shadow. we had two
options, either silence and continue living under this injustice or to stand up
for the right with the revolution against this system. Dalal and her family
chose to leave Damascus where her husband was working as a policeman and returned
to Idlib to be among their family and by the side of the revolution.
On her return to her home town in Idlib, Dalal says: A whole new life
began, and it was not easy especially with five children, until the centre’s
establishment during which we faced many social obstacles, as some people began
spreading rumours and incitement to close the centre under the pretext that
women should not go out of the house to join such courses, however, we were
able to continue the work and establish a great team.
“I am illiterate, but I have succeeded in encouraging tens of women to
go out, learn and participate in supporting their families, in addition to my role
in opening a kindergarten for 50 children now learning to write and read, under
the supervision of teachers with university degrees.”
On her interest in political work, Dalal says:” We women were made-absent
from what is happening in our country, we have the right to be work in the
political, economic and social fields so that we can contribute and make change”.
Dalal adds: “Even now when reporting Syria’s news to the world, we must have a
role in communicating the truth to the
world and raise our voice, and when we talk about the real conditions of the
country we must be a source of information being part of this reality, and I am
one of those people who chose to stay in Syria It is my duty to be a voice of
Dalal is not ashamed about being illiterate, she trained and provided
herself with knowledge. Dalal says: “I
am illiterate, but I have succeeded in encouraging tens of women to go out,
learn and participate in supporting their families, in addition to my role in
opening a kindergarten for 50 children now learning to write and read, under
the supervision of teachers with university degrees”.
Regarding the challenges facing political work in Syria, Dalal considers
that dependence on foreign policies is the biggest obstacle to creating a political
action atmosphere, even at the level of Idlib governorate, for example, all the
external forces operating there on the ground increase challenges to civilians
and complicate the situation.
As for the challenges facing the work of women in the politics, Dalal
says “There are many obstacles and even mentioning them and delving into their
details can put us at risk, so we need a second revolution to restore our voice”.
Dalal recently joined the Syrian Women’s Political Movement. She says” joining
the movement came from my desire to have a role in the future of Syria and not
be absent as before. I found in the movement active members, and I expect the
movement to have an imprint in Syrian political life”.
“When I founded “Zumurdah Centre”, I was faced with some mockery from
people who questioned my ability to work as illiterate. Today, when I see what
the Centre has achieved in four years and the support it provided to the women
of the region, I feel joy and pride. I proved that when a person strives
diligently and successfully to do something, then he/she must see satisfactory
results. I trusted myself. my husband, and my children trusted me, and this was
enough for me to continue.”
Dalal considers that efforts must be joined again to correct the course
of the revolution, and to reinforce the concept of participatory work and
assistance. Dalal gives an example, saying: Our team has 16 young women and two
young men. I feel proud that these people have become self-reliant and no longer
need help, which is a major achievement.
About Syria, which Dalal dreams of, she says “I dream of a free and
secure Syria, when the country is free, the result will be a safe and stable
To women of Syria, I say “Every person on this earth has an impact, do
not underestimate your impact, work to develop yourself, and support each other”.
Among the difficult situations that Dalal went through “When I returned to
Idlib at the beginning of the revolution and we had no work or home, it was not
easy for us to start again”.
One of the most beautiful situations that Dalal recalls during the past
nine years is saying: “When I founded “Zumurdah Centre”, I was faced with some
mockery from people who questioned my ability to work as illiterate. Today,
when I see what the Centre has achieved in four years and the support it
provided to the women of the region, I feel joy and pride. I proved that when a
person strives diligently and successfully to do something, then he/she must
see satisfactory results. I trusted myself. my husband and my children trusted
me, and this was enough for me to continue”.