Rand Abdul Rahman Abdallah, 21, is a young woman who grew up in Amman, Jordan. Her journey has not been easy, but it is her tenacity that has seen her through.
When the time came for Rand to take her high-school accreditation exams (Tawjihi), like many students, she felt nervous. And when she didn’t succeed at passing the exams, she didn’t talk to anyone for a week. “It was a very tough phase of my life, but I didn’t think my life was over,” shared Rand.
Soon, her hopeful spirit returned and Rand began to think about what she wanted to do with her future and the career she wanted to pursue. “My family has always pushed me to be a lawyer, but I realised that it was their dream and not mine. One day, I was watching TV and I saw an advertisement for scholarships being offered at Luminus Technical University College [Al Quds College].”
The scholarships are offered as part of the UNESCO “Provision of TVET [technical and vocational education and training] for Vulnerable Jordanian and Syrian Refugee Youth” project, implemented with generous funding and strong partnership from the Government of the Republic of Korea.
UNESCO has been supporting youth to receive quality training programmes as a means of creating employment, learning skills for work. The project is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 4 which focuses on ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.
Rand applied to the BTEC-level 2 accredited course in beauty. Much to her surprise, she was accepted following an interview and began her studies in May 2019. The course focused on preparing students with practical esthetician skills including hair, make-up, nails, waxing and skin care, while acquiring knowledge and competences on communication skills, marketing and promotion skills.
Rand completed her on-the-job training segment at a local salon and following this practical part of her training, Rand was able to find a job at a salon in Amman.
“I am really pleased with my job and proud that I work, rather than just staying at home. I make my own money and I don’t depend on others.” The programme sparked Rand’s interest in make-up and in the future, she hopes to start her own small business, doing make-up for brides and parties.
Rand has a strong message to send to youth who might find themselves unsure about the future: “I would tell young people who have not succeeded at Tawjihi that there are other good opportunities out there. Had I become a lawyer, I’m not sure I would be as happy as I am now. Now I am living my dream and I consider myself successful.”
This Korean-funded project is seeking to ensure access to meaningful, accredited post-basic education for 75 vulnerable Jordanian youth and 175 Syrian refugee youth in Jordan. Participants of the academic year 2019/2020 of this successful programme have wrapped up their studies and an estimated 208 students are expected to earn their graduate diplomas this year.
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Jordan Lee Jae-wan is proud of the powerful impact of the TVET project. “Korea believes that all youth and adults, girls and boys, women and men, deserve opportunities to develop the skills required for employment, decent work, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning. We are delighted to be continuing to provide this valuable support through this UNESCO project,” the ambassador said.
At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in Jordan, Rand received news from her employer that the salon would be closing temporarily. “I felt really shocked,” shared Rand. “I like to keep busy and I miss waking up early in the morning and dressing up for work. I miss the hectic atmosphere at the salon — sometimes it’s so busy there that I don’t have time to eat!”
In the meantime, Rand is passing the time at home practising her makeup skills with guidance from online tutorials and doing her mom and aunt’s hair. Recently, Rand received a promotion at work; she and her colleague are now in charge of a new branch of the salon opened by the owner. She feels grateful to have a job to return to, when the threat of the virus has passed and everyday life resumes in Jordan.