I Am Powerful
I had the idea of photographing various refugee and Jordanian women for the International Women’s Day while holding a sign that read: “I Am Powerful.”
A task that proved to me to be one of my most empowering experiences; where I spoke to women in small focus group discussions about what made them powerful, or if they thought at all about their power. I already knew that they are empowered women, what surprised me was that most of them have immense powers they developed through the harsh events they have been through; they chose power over weakness, instinctively.
One particular story left a mark on me as I would never imagine experiencing what Lina* has been through. Lina, 42, is a Syrian refugee. By the age of 19, she was the mother of four. Her parents had forced her to marry at the age of 12 to a man 20 years her senior following a family dispute over which cousin she should marry.
“When I turned 21, I divorced him. I couldn’t take more of this abuse,” Lina says. She didn’t care about what people would say, and she even re-married and had another child. Unfortunately, her second husband passed away in the war. “I have no problem to marry a third time,” she says, an aura of confidence radiating from her.
Lina thinks that her strength is her ability to keep smiling despite all the hardships she has experienced. “What will I gain from negativity? Nothing! I will only increase the burden on my shoulders, and make people around me unhappy as well.”
This is just one story. Many women rise from the ashes like phoenixes, stronger and more radiant than ever. They conquer difficulties with positivity, faith, and sometimes even humor. They are powerful enough to withstand war and displacement while taking care of themselves and their families. If that’s not power, I don’t know what is. I consider myself fortunate to meet such powerful women and listen to their stories; it makes me a powerful woman aiming to empower other women, who don’t yet know their strengths.
Written by âSara Rashdan, the assistant to the Country Director for CARE Jordan. She is responsible for special projects, and working in monitoring and evaluation, reporting and compliance for the Syria program response.
*Names have been changed to protect individuals.