"We have grown old but still like when others pay us attention"
Ms. Fatemah Taha Al Al Awad, 60 years old, from Jordan
Ms. Fatima Taha al-Awad, a resident of the Sheikh Hussein district of the northern Jordan Valley, started her journey of work early and faced many challenges. Her husband died at the age of 30, he was the only breadwinner of family with 13 children. In this hard time all she had left was determination to succeed in order to move forward and support her family.
Ms. Fatima told us that she is a productive person and loves working, but the lack of opportunities for economic empowerment of older people makes it hard and often times she is bored, especially due to the lack of centres and associations to care for the older people in her region. She added that her feeling of loneliness and boredom began to increase, especially after her children grew up and that she no longer carried out the agricultural work that she had practiced for a long time.
I was delighted to be invited to attend the awareness-raising workshops on the rights of older persons and the economic empowerment, implemented by the National Centre for Human Rights under the "Contribution to the inclusion of older persons in livelihood activities” project, funded by HelpAge International in Jordan. I had a great determination to attend every event and I was the first one there. I have found that the hope I had once lost, is slowly coming back and will help me continue the process of giving in order to support myself and those around me.
These workshops have had a great impact on many positive changes on my life: I have renewed my spirit of work and activity, learned to grow new varieties of plants, became more familiar with how to care for plants and learned how to manage surplus and sell them. Thus, all this improved the living standards for me and my family.
After a while, I even suggested for the centre to give a workshop about mushroom cultivation and care to the older men and women. I was so excited when I was told that this was a wonderful idea and that will need my support for this workshop and I will even be paid for it. This workshop was very appreciated by all since mushroom cultivation is not something familiar to them, and they enjoyed the new experience and knowledge.
Overall, I think It is nice to have the necessary support and encouragement to continue to do the things that one likes to do. I am very happy as I no longer have much free time and I no longer feel bored. Furthermore, I have made some new friendships with some older women of those who have attended the workshops and this has also greatly impacted me.
I believe that such activities are necessary and important of the elderly especially for the positive impact it is on all of us. We may have grown old but still like when others pay attention to us. It is great that there are institutions which care about older people in particular and I hope they will continue to do so in the future.