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MEET THE SEP ARTIST: Haleema Zaidan Abdulrahman Alankasouiri

January 6, 2016


Haleema Zaidan Abdulrahman Alankasouiri
Photo Credit: Farras Oran

Acting as both a mother and a father to her seven children, Haleema lives in a house that is theirs - and theirs only.  She emphasizes her appreciation for a home she calls her own because she knows how difficult it is for the women in the camp who have to share shelters with their fathers, brothers, in-laws.

When Haleema speaks of her 35 years of marriage, there are traces of melancholy in her tone. Her husband was over ten years her senior when they got married. He was a teacher at one point but now “it’s like he’s tired of life”, Haleema says. “He no longer has energy or patience for anything or anyone”. However, her sentence ends with a smile that beams with pride when she tells us how she was able to complete her primary education before getting married at the age of 15.

At 51, Haleema is thinking about education again, this time for her children. She wants to make sure her children are able to receive the education they need to make a life for themselves.

Haleema spent her life trying to earn a living by deploying all the talents she believes she has. She worked as an embroiderer, a seamstress, a cook, and a salesperson for handmade goods, all with one goal in mind: to pay for her children’s education.  After years of intermittent work, loans, and failed attempts to save, Haleema started participating in a "group loan system" whereby each lady puts in 50 JOD and one lady borrows the larger sum every month. This goes on until each participant lady has gotten the lot and returned it. Haleema paid her share each month but not everyone did the same which lead to tough times for her and her family.

This is when SEP appeared in Haleema’s life. She speaks of SEP fondly because it came at a very rough period of her life and helped her through her crisis by allowing her to earn good money in exchange for working hard. Over the past two years, SEP has become Haleema’s main source of income. When asked what her hopes for herself are, she replies that she doesn’t wish anything for herself anymore and it’s all about her children now. Haleema’s older kids are married and have families of their own; she wants to see them thrive. Two of her daughters are at University; one studies biology and the other one is training to become a teacher. Haleema’s youngest son is still in high school and tells his mother he would like to be a craftsman and attend a vocational training school.

Haleema firmly believes in them and their talent and she will do all she can to help them. She dreams to see them holding their degrees, self-sufficient and empowered.

What SEP says about Haleema: Her talent is unique and her sense of humor is hard to match. Our Alhambra cashmere cape carries her name, as she effortlessly gave the creative team the inspiration they were looking for during a brainstorming session. Haleema brings tons of positive energy to the SEP workshop and such energy comes through when you admire her work.

By Nada Aradeh and Shuhd Al Sharki

 

Haleema's children imagined by Hani Abbas. All rights reserved, Hani Abbas for SEP, April 2016