“Work Together Against Ageism”
Mrs. Aisha Mohammed Abdullah , 70 years from Jordan
I was working as an assistant in the human resources department of a company until I retired in 2005, at first, I was happy to start a new life routine and practice some social and recreational activities, but after a short period of time I felt regret and distress especially that I was living on my own after my children grew up and got married; furthermore, my friends are away because of the different life circumstances, simply the reality wasn’t close to the picture I imagined when I made my decision to retire.
I went through a difficult period after that. I no longer left the house. I felt isolated and depressed for not being able to adapt to a new life style. I am a woman who was used to working and giving; it was strange for me to sit at home and away from the work environment. I asked myself: - “why don't I go back to work?”
The following morning, after I made the decision to go back to work, I read an announcement in a local newspaper for a company in need of a human resources officer. I read the job requirements, which were very applicable to me.
I automatically changed clothes, prepared my CV and went to the company premises, in full confidence and happiness, as if that job were meant for me for the experience and the enthusiasm I had. But, going in to the office of the person in charge, I introduced myself and made a brief on myself, he looked down upon me and did not even bother to receive my CV told me a few phrases that were deeply insulting: - “I guess you had worked long enough. Go back home and give the chance to others. His response was tough enough to make me cry and increase my melancholy.
I went home indeed and asked myself: - “why don't those around us realize that these phrases hurt us and that our age has nothing to do with the desire to give and be enthusiastic”. “Why be marginalized just because I am old?” “How long will this stereotype of older people remain existent with some of our members of society? I did not find a satisfactory answer to ease the distress in me. I decided to stop looking for jobs and try to do some social activities every now and then.
Almost a year and a half ago I heard about HelpAge International in Jordan, and as soon as I heard the name it was a joyful thing for me and I felt that they were specialists for the older people and that this organization name itself was a cause for optimism.
Actually, I started visiting HelpAge International's Knowledge and Resource Hub and participating in all the activities and events they provide to the older people. I have motivation to get out of the house and have made a lot of new friends that have greatly improved my emotional state, especially after I volunteered with HelpAge and started contributing to the coordination and organization of the older people activities.
One of the most beautiful activities provided by the Knowledge and Resource Hub was the advocacy training for older people and how to claim their rights. I felt that the older people themselves should be able to focus and shed light on the issues related to them as only older people can feel what needs be done for the older people themselves. This was highly inspiring me to represent the older people through the “Older People Social Committee”, which was formed under the umbrella of HelpAge International to be a start for the "The Journey to Age Equality" and to demand the rights of the older people and change the stereotypes associated with them.