I am Generation Equality: Ibtsam Sayeed Ahmed, champion for women, education and disability rights

Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.


I am Generation Equality

Ibtsam Sayeed Ahmed, 40, is using her story to empower other women, youth and people with disabilities to stand up for their rights, Jordan. Photo: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney

I am Generation Equality because…

Three things you can do to become part of Generation Equality:

  • First and foremost, empower yourself
  • Empower others to stand up for their rights
  • Icon- a girl raises her arm
  • Educate young people to become the voices of the future

No matter what your gender is, how old you are, or whether you have a disability: you are deserving of all of your rights!

My story is living proof of the difficulties that women and those who have disabilities face. And I want to serve as an inspiration to others in their effort to overcome their personal and societal obstacles.

In 2012, a bomb hit my house in Dar'aa, and with that one bomb, my life completely changed. Momentary pain turned into years of pain. I had to learn to walk again, to adjust to only having one hand, support myself, and ultimately learn how to live again.

When I fled to Jordan, my sister was with me. However, at the border, we were separated amidst the mayhem of others fleeing. She returned to Dar'aa where three days later she was killed. I was very alone in the world.

Never give up despite the challenges

Overcoming all of my hardships was difficult. My mobility was not my only barrier. Being a woman, alone in the camp, unsupported, added to my strain. But I did it! I took each day as it came, each new step, and reminded myself to keep on persevering.

I got a job in the UN Women Oasis Center as a teaching assistant, educator and peer facilitator, which allowed me to financially support myself and save to pay for my medical bills.


Empowering yourself is key to breaking any barrier that is in front of you. And in empowering myself, I then had the confidence to empower others.


Empowerment and education come hand in hand

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“Empowering yourself is key to breaking any barrier that is in front of you.”

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Women, people with disabilities, and youth must be educated and empowered to access all of their rights. But for that to happen, women, girls, men, boys, and everyone needs to be engaged to make that happen.

I used to dream of completing my education and becoming a lawyer, that dream can no longer be a reality for me. But what I can dream of, is for other girls and youth to have their chance to access education opportunities and do what they want in their lives.

My message for the younger generation is: Don’t stop asking for what you want and need! You are the future for us, so speak up, for us and one another, so we can all have a brighter future.


Ibtsam Sayeed Ahmed, 40, is a Syrian refugee enrolled as an incentive-based volunteer in the UN Women Oasis Center, in Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan. She is actively empowering women, youth and people with disabilities to stand up for that rights and pursue their education. UN Women’s incentive-based volunteer programme in the Za’atari refugee camp is generously funded by the Government of Japan under the ’Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection in Crisis Response’ (LEAP) programme.