By Wala al-Hamdani in Ninewa
Marwa al-Khashab, 37, following graduation from college of administration and economy, department of administrative databases, has been looking for a job in 2007 alike her colleagues in Mosul.
She was shocked the chances were very weak all over Iraq not only in Mosul and marriage was her only option, an option which forced many women to quit their dreams in favor of family, husband and children in a male dominant society.
"As any other mother, my focus was my kids and household in such a way that I lost hope in being employed and make my ambitions come true," Al-Khashab describes the first few years of marriage.
Once she got a contract-based temporary job, she had to take care of her new born baby and could not take that opportunity.
"I still had my dream out of my house and was always feeling I will be doing well out of home but had to postpone it for a while."
I still had my dream out of my house and was always feeling I will be doing well out of home but had to postpone it for a while.
When Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS took over control in Mosul and large swathes of Iraq, it was the dark days of Marwa and all Mosulawis.
She has downloaded several electronic books for that period of time and started developing her skills.
"I was reading any book I could download about any sector, politics, sociology, economy and also development of human resources."
Once the Iraqi forces retained control of Mosul in July 2017, Al-Khashab had the chance to work as a teacher in a primary school close to her house, ten years post graduation.
Though she had studied management and economics, yet she found it a challenge.
The school headmaster assigned her to teach a big class of grade three who were not doing well due to the years of war they passed under ISIS.
"I have accepted the task and told her confidently I will turn it to one of the typical classes."
The headmaster told her that to have five good pupils out of that crowd will be a miracle.
Al-Khashab didn't want to give up and worked hard to teach the little girls. "I have used new methods for teaching which turned the class into a successful one."
As she was interested in working for Civil society NGOs, she took part in several trainings including a course for training trainers TOT, "a unique jump made me a new Marwa."
Her efforts went fruitful and got a position as project manager assistant in al-Amal society, one of the leading NGOs operating in Iraq, in 2019.
Al-Khashab has serves as a volunteer as well along with four colleagues. Voluntary team for Women Affairs has conducted several workshops for women in Mosul for free.
"Women in our Moslawi community are the weakest point of the circle so we did our best in our workshops in a short time to defend women rights and education, warmly welcomed in Mosul."
Marwa has proven to be a committed wife and mother for three kids yet determined to prove her skills and bring her dreams true.
She is currently head of al-Amal society NGO in Talkef district of Ninewa province.
"Marriage and parenting have not stopped me from dreaming and realizing it passionately."