Tastakel

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TAYMA AL-MARAWI

Over the past 15 years, Tayma has been tirelessly working as an employee in one of the public sector institutions in Aleppo, while ambitiously pursuing her university studies at the Faculty of Arts, University of Aleppo, Department of Philosophy. She continued her work and studies at the same time. She was able to complete her academic degree at the University of Damascus in order to be able to obtain a diploma in higher-studies.

In terms of academics and knowledge, Tayma had the opportunity to be an assistant teacher at al-Furat University in the city of Deir Ezzor, as she was forced to travel on a weekly basis to the university to attend lectures, until she was internally dispatched to study a master’s degree, and a doctorate at Damascus University specializing in Arabic philosophy. Besides her studies, she was working as a freelancer, in order to be able to cover her expenses to continue her studies and cover travel and accommodation costs, which used to last for a few days every week between Damascus and Aleppo.

Tayma’s passion and her love for her previous work in the human resources department, motivated her to specialize in the field. In addition to her master’s studies, she enrolled in the Higher Institute of Administrative Sciences and obtained a master’s degree in human resources and management.

All of this was between 2002 and 2012, when life in her city, Aleppo, was somewhat routine. Tayma’s interest in social and humanitarian issues was an integral part of the formation of her personality during this period. She did volunteer work in one of the charitable societies (Association of Good People) that helped orphans, supported education, and provided for poor families. She loved this work because was at the very core of her program and her vision.

Meanwhile, Tayma participated in several community initiatives and charitable work aimed at supporting education and social activities. She also worked in a community action network (Mobaderoon Network) that had a great impact in 2012 in creating a new conscious environment for the youth and helped in training on concepts related to the advancement of society, such as community leadership, active citizenship and peace building.

The beginning of 2013 was a pivotal phase in the Syrian revolution. Things started changing and Tayma moved to live in Turkey due to the poor living conditions in her city, Aleppo. It was too hard to secure the lowest living necessities such as medicine, water, doctors and heating materials. In addition to the absence of safety, fear spread everywhere, and with the long siege, she felt she had to leave her home. She thought that it would be a short phase in Turkey, and that she would shortly return to her home and city. After several years in Turkey, Tayma’s wish for return remains like a distant dream. 

With her decision to leave Syria, she had to make another decision. It was to abandon everything and start all over from scratch, especially in a new country, a new culture and to learn a new language, all which take a lot of work and effort. She got the idea of ​​creating the social network, a support group to help anyone who is able to restart. The aim was to create a non-governmental organization that works with groups of young people who immigrated like her and found themselves displaced in Turkey. Thus, its goal was to instill the principles of neutrality, equality, participation and non-violence, and to work to consolidate the idea of ​​active citizenship, and how they are moral citizens and part of this world and could positively influence wherever they are. Tayma works also as a trainer specializing in community leadership and is interested in teaching how to actively create new leaders to build a cohesive society. 

In 2015, Tayma participated in the Entrepreneur Competition by the Dutch Spark Organization and won the first prize for establishing a special project about Syrians’ integration in Turkey. The project stemmed from a need for creating relations between Syrians and Turks, and getting to know their common cultures through a cultural café. She helped organize seminars and events. And together with the group created social clubs such as the Reading Club and the Cinema Club. Tayma says, “all these in an effort to foster closeness between us, despite obstacles in communication and coexistence.”

Taima certainly did not give up after arriving in Turkey. She didn’t hesitate to seize the first opportunity to return to work in the field of human resources, and she has also worked since 2014 up to the present in the field of humanitarian work organizations as a director of human resources, and became a member of the Syrian Women’s Network.

Based on the need to improve her skills further and thinking of ways to project a new future for Syrians, she was happy when she came to know of the work of Tastakel. She appreciated its program on empowering women leaders, peace building, dialogue, debate skills, and other programs and trainings. She liked being in groups with more than 40 Syrian women from all over Syria, with some joining from other parts of the world, ranging from the displaced, refugees, still in Syria, or recently settled in new countries. She said she liked the 60 hours of training, which was a great experience in connecting minds and sharing ideas and getting to the formulation of projects that reflect what was gained during the training.  Her participation with Tastakel gave her an incentive to expand her future vision and think more of the importance of women’s participation in peace building. It made her think of women leaders and empowering them to gain access to positions of power to help in re-building communities, and also the path of rebuilding a new Syria.

Finally, Tastakel, Tayma says, gave her the opportunity to contribute to the training itself. She was invited to teach a segment on leadership to young Syrian men and women. Tayma praises what Tastakel gave her and wants to further invest in these efforts and skills in transferring this kind of knowledge and experiences to others.

In conclusion, Tayma says, “as for me, this is such a massive step; and I believe that this has been a turning point for my entire life!”