Since 1989 Laila Touqan Abu el Huda makes a change within the Jordan Red Cross Society. From the beginning she has been fighting for women in her country. She started as a volunteer for the Women Committee for the Vocational Training Centre that aims to empower women.
Later she became the director of the Vocational Training Centre and collaborated with the NS governance to expand the Centre so it could meet the needs of all vulnerable women and young girls in the community. She set new goals and criteria and launched trainings to not only service the ones in need, but also make sure that the trainees got a better payment and employment. With success. Today the Centre graduates around 150-200 young girls yearly. Plus, it reaches out to a wider circle of beneficiaries and has gained wider credibility and visibility. This has resulted into attracting more women and support from Movement partners and donors.
Since 1991, due to the continuous conflicts in the region, Jordan was affected economically and the vulnerability in the communities increased, as well as unemployment. Women started to play an important role for the family income, they needed to work to make ends meet. Especially among refugee women and vulnerable Jordanian women. The number of women as heads of households increased. Laila saw this problem and developed a new program to meet their needs. Today, the Centre graduates around 400-500 diverse vulnerable women and young girls yearly, who are now equipped with certified knowledge and skills. The Centre encourages women to engage in entrepreneurship projects and home based small businesses.
Based on her valuable work for the community and Society, Laila was elected as member of the Jordan Red Crescent Central Executive Committee for four consecutive terms and she still serves as a member of the Central Committee. She was named as the NS Gender Focal Point and fights for more gender awareness and gender-based violence awareness in the MENA Region. To be successful she doesn’t only involve women but engages male staff and volunteers as well in her fight for women empowerment.
“The women of Castiglione nursed and soothed the wounded soldiers, ut when the Red Cross was born, no women were in attendance. Today women are still nursing the wounded... But are they in on the decision making?”