“When I was at home, before I heard about AMAR, I had no computer knowledge so I wasn’t qualified to work for the organizations I wanted to. Now that I have IT skills and computer skills I have the opportunity to work with these types of organizations.”
Sipan Haji came to the AMAR INVEST Center in the Dohuk governorate of Northern Iraq with a plan. She knew she wanted to work for aid organizations in the IDP camps in Dohuk, and she knew AMAR could give her the skills she needed to get there.
“I heard about the AMAR INVEST Center in Shariya and all the different courses that were being offered. I signed up for the IT courses offered at the center and after two months of taking computer courses I earned my certificates. I finally had the skills I needed to work for aid organizations.”
AMAR opened six INVEST (Inclusive Vocational and Entrepreneurship Skills Training) Centers in 2016. The goal of these centers was to create new economic opportunities for both internally displaced people (IDPs) and host communities while stimulating entrepreneurship at the local level.
Each INVEST Center provides the community with access to important services such as legal counsel, but the core programs are job skills training workshops. INVEST Centers offer courses in high-demand skills such as sewing, hairdressing, literacy, numeracy, English, and IT.
Sipan is proud of her accomplishments at AMAR’s Dohuk INVEST Center. Her instructor, Mr. Samir, is too.
“My student, Sipan Haji, was a very smart student. She came to the course not knowing anything about IT and class by class she started to learn,” Samir said. “She was clever and wanted to become a top student so that she could earn the highest certificate.”
Now Sipan works at an aid organization in the Shariya camp in Northern Iraq, where she can help her neighbors, community, and country rebuild. “Here I give health lessons to children and teach language lessons. I also do computer work for the organization, writing reports and sending them out.”
Sipan knew that the AMAR INVEST Center could give her the skills she needed to gain employment, and she knows that the Centers will help others achieve their goals.
“What I would say to people who are at home without any employment opportunities is to go to the INVEST Center. There are many courses being offered and they can learn many things. They can gain confidence, learn English, learn about computers, and so much more.”
Sipan’s success story is just one of the many experienced by graduates from the INVEST Centers. After 2 years of running on AMAR funding, 4 of the 6 Centers are now self-sustaining and will continue to provide courses and training opportunities to students like Sipan.
“The most important thing is that we must work hand in hand,” Sipan said, “And not lose hope. Then we will succeed!”