Mar 8, 2022

International Women's Day 2022 - Ola's Story

This International Women’s Day, we are celebrating women who #BreakTheBias, like 33-year-old mother-of-four Ola Ali Sabbah Breijieh, who is smashing age-old traditions in the West Bank by taking courses in carpentry and woodworking.

Unemployment rates in the West Bank are high, especially for women, and even though Ola holds an advanced degree, jobs are scarce. That’s why she decided to participate in a vocational training course offered through CLWR’s Gender-Responsive and Inclusive Technical and Vocational Education and Training (GRIT) program.

“This training will help me in finding more job opportunities and finding a source of income for me and my family.” Ola has a passion for professional work and believes it will help build self-confidence and give her the strength to withstand challenges. “Professional work for women also gives her distinction in the society and breaks the customs and traditions that restrict women’s freedom to work professionally …and that such businesses are not restricted to men only,” she says. 

Right now, Ola is the only woman in a class full of men: “I faced some difficulties in communicating with them, but with work and training I became more open and communicative with my group, and training became easier and more enjoyable than before.”

After her training, Ola dreams of establishing a small business that will employ people from her community. The ripple effects of her story should not be underestimated. Ola’s presence in this traditionally-male space will act as powerful inspiration for other women and girls to follow and this in turn will help employers in the industry view women, including women with disabilities, as a skilled and capable workforce.

GRIT is funded by the Government of Canada and is implemented by Lutheran World Federation Jerusalem, in partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief. Additional funding is provided by the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. Find out more at