Ihsan What’s in a name?

                                  IHSAN Women’s Centre Jarabulus Syria


As friends in Jarabulus worked towards setting up a learning centre for women providing training in sewing, medical care, literacy courses and English lessons, it was time to find a name.

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Six years into Syria’s revolution and here they were in Jarabulus in the North Aleppo Governorate that had recently been liberated from Daesh in August 2016.  Their intention was to provide these women with the opportunity to become as autonomous as possible given the chaotic situation in Syria for the moment.

Once a suitable site was found, they set about giving it a pleasant atmosphere where the women would feel at ease. They installed the sewing machines with all their accessories in one room…


and in the second, a whiteboard and other teaching materials were put in place..


In fact, the young director had already decided on his new center’s name. He is from Manbij, just about 40 kilometers away, yet it could be on the other side of the world, as he is a former FSA rebel and his life would be in danger there.

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He remembered an organisation in Manbij called Ihsan devoted to helping people, a charitable organisation where justice prevailed for all. The name was perfectly suited to the conception he had of his new project where “justice is the best thing you can have”.

The name “Ihsan” cannot be easily summed up in English. It is used as a first name and also as an acronym – yet, and much more significant in the circumstances, it is an Arabic term meaning, “excellence” and “perfection”– among other definitions: “doing good things to people and benefit them”.


Ihsan, in fact, is related to the word “goodness” (Arabic Husn). It implies that through one’s inner faith (iman), one’s sayings and actions indicate a sense of social responsibility borne from one’s religious convictions. Going further, it may be interpreted as a way of excelling in all of one’s actions while multiplying acts of charity and benevolent deeds.

Given the difficulties encountered in Jarabulus and the time devoted to finding a suitable site, assuring the financing and funding, repairing and outfitting the rooms, finding teachers and enrolling future pupils, we can only express our admiration for all the efforts undertaken and wish good luck and success to the Ihsan Women’s Learning Centre.


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