- By: Mona Katoub
- updated: December 25, 2020
- reading time: 5 Minutes and 51 seconds
Dalal Al-Bish, born in Jabel Al Zawiya, Idlib, founder of “Zumurdah Centre” women empowerment and childcare centre and a member of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement.
Dalal began 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” says Dalal.
“After a 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.
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 added.
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 truth”.
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 life”.
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”.