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.


IHSAN Women’s Center Jarabulus


                    A Brighter Future in Jarabulus North Aleppo

Syria’s Arab Spring, in March 2011 was seen as an “awakening” as Syrians found their voices and broke the silence. They emerged from over 40 years where walls had ears and a corrupt cruel dictatorship had prevailed.

Today, 6 years later, in March 2017, in Jarabulus, in northern Aleppo, on the banks of the Euphrates, a “renaissance” is slowly taking form – a grassroots civil society where Syrians are once again taking their lives back into their own hands rebuilding a society of their choice based on human rights for all.

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Not a single family has been spared the terrible suffering inflicted on them for 6 years by Bashar al Assad’s regime and his Russian and Iranian allies.

A New Project for Women in Jarabulus

Yet, four friends with no previous experience in educational training but a strong desire to do something for their fellow Syrians, have put together an educational program exclusively for women in Jarabulus at the Ihsan Women’s Centre.

Their aim is to offer a training course in sewing, nursing, literacy courses and a language education project which will allow the women to become autonomous and no longer rely on others.

Setting up the School

The original idea came from a friend in Turkey and was received with enthusiasm in Jarabulus. He sent 10 sewing machines and thus the project was launched.

The first task, finding a suitable location in war torn Jarabulus, proved rather difficult but overcome after a few days….

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The next task was repairing and preparing the rooms……


and installing the sewing machines and other educational material….

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Recruiting and Enrolling

It was then time to recruit four women teachers for the different subjects and finding “pupils”. As of today, the four teachers have been recruited and pupils are signing up for this new undertaking. All the teachers are women so the women pupils will feel less stressed and more at ease.


As the young director is from nearby Manbij, he is entitled to aid from the Manbij Civil Council. The Manbij Civil Council is situated in Jarabulus for the moment as long as Manbij remains “occupied” where it provides help to Manbij citizens. The Council has agreed to help financing the project although it required a great deal of patience. Further funding to pay the teachers’ salaries and other expenses is required and should be provided eventually by another organisation. Fortunately, water and electricity are provided free.

 Finding a Name

As for the name of his project, he didn’t hesitate a minute. When he was still living in Manbij, he recalled a group that helped people called “Ihsan.” Ihsan is an Arabic term meaning “perfection” or “excellence” – it implies “a sense of social responsibility borne from religious convictions – doing good things to people and benefit them”. How appropriate in this context for the Ihsan Center for Women in Jarabulus.

We can only wish good luck to the Ihsan Women’s Center, to its teachers and pupils and, of course, to the team that made it possible.