Enab Baladi Issue # 123 – Sun, June. 29, 2014
Hanin Alnakri- Douma
An event entitled “Economy under Siege” has been rounded off on Thursday, 26th June which was organized by a “women now” training center at Douma city located in the eastern suburb of Damascus. The event had included lectures discussing reasons and solutions for the economic problems and living conditions experienced by the besieged areas.
In her talk to Enab Baladi, the center’s director Ms. Huda had confirmed that the idea of this event originated from the reality of the Eastern suburb itself, where the blockade had affected all life domains. Despite the difficulty confronted, what was beautifully evident was what these creative minds could do in such harsh circumstances. “The lack of resources and basic necessities of life made people invent new ways to overcome these shortcomings. So for example, in the absence of electricity, we thought of all available alternatives and powers which can replace it; such as wind power, solar energy, and kinetic energy, and that’s something we would never have thought about if we were not in need” as Ms. Huda said.
The preparation process for this project had taken about two months. The only difficulty encountered was the bad security conditions in the Eastern suburb in June, according to Ms. Huda. “The severe security escalation accompanied the presidency election had affected the number of the attendants, and the workshops’ conditions. Mortars, aviation and artillery shelling in addition to a car bomb incident made it even worse. Can you imagine we lost 90 martyrs during the workshops’ time in Douma alone?!”
A workshop entitled “economy towards siege” had included ten lectures on various daily life domains; one discussed the possibility of establishing a local network communication, several lectures on alternative energies, first aids and physical therapy, another lecture was on herbs and how to be used domestically, in addition to a special lecture on human development and how to promote one’s self and mental capacities under siege. Ms. Amani, one of the center’s employees confirmed that all lectures were delivered by specialists, which made people take the initiative to attend despite the bad security conditions. “The number of attendants in one lecture was between 30-60 people, a number that was less than our initial expectations, yet large comparing to the security situation at that time”.
The event was not aimed just to provide imaginary ideas and theories. On the contrary, lectures within each workshop had contained practical and applicable ideas under siege, according to Samah, an engineer from “women now” center.
Lecturers tried to motivate those with expertise to be presented to the society in an interactive way. Add to that, the field visits we’d made during energy lectures to explore how to collect methane gas and use it. Also, the lecture of physical therapy, delivered by the therapist Abu-Sulieman Alhamwi, had directly implemented his lectures’ ideas on one case of people with special needs”.
Ms. Huda said to Enab Baladi that “Women now” center had contacted the Council of local administration, and the local council in the Eastern Suburb to practically apply these ideas; “especially, the local network communication project, since the main objective of the workshops is to discuss and exchange ideas, and thereafter to attempt to apply them with cooperation of councils or bodies that can give any particular support”.
Enab Baladi had monitored the audience’s views, and they were as follows; Ms. Fatima said, she never expected the intense information provided in each lecture, especially “the methane gas lecture, where I learned the exact way of producing methane and then shared this information with my fellows to implement this project thoughtfully”.
According to Rahaf, the most important thing is that the project showed hope in the continuity of life here. “Personally, I believe the lecture of herbs was quite beneficial in the absence of chemical-based medicines under siege. I found out that there are other alternatives that exist in our homes, which we don’t know anything about”; whereas Ms. Nada’s merely saying was “the most beautiful thing I learned from lectures was exploring experiences regarding alternative energies in other countries; such as the experiments in the German and Indian villages. We can do that. Necessity is the mother of invention, that’s the idea in short”.
Translated by: Rahaf Alabar