Feature: 1st female taxi driver in Syria's Aleppo shows self-reliance in times of hardship
                 Source: Xinhua | 2018-02-14 16:07:02 | Editor: huaxia

Um al-Noor, a Syrian woman in her 50s, stands next to her taxicab in Aleppo city, northern Syria, on Feb. 6, 2018. Um al-Noor is the first female taxi driver in Aleppo. (Xinhua photo/Ammar Safarjalani)

by Hummam Sheikh Ali

ALEPPO, Syria, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Um al-Noor, the first female taxi driver in Syria's Aleppo, shows self-reliance in times of war and hardship.

"When the people first saw me, they got amazed but no one opposed me because everyone was busy struggling to secure the bread loaf," al-Noor, a Syrian woman in her 50s, said.

Wearing a hijab and a long jacket covering her body, Um al-Noor, meaning "the mother of light" in Arabic, lost everything when the war raged in Aleppo and found herself alone.

Having divorced before the war broke out, she lost in the war one of her sons, who served in the military in the capital Damascus.

Her other son was living in a besieged neighborhood in Aleppo, making her have no one to turn to when faced with difficulties.

She was working as a DJ in women-only parties ahead of the war, but that happy-party kind of work was wiped off by the unimaginable sufferings of the Syrian people in Aleppo.

Her life had dramatically changed, from entering parties to play music for cheering crowds, into entering frontline areas to deliver her scared passengers in her white taxicab, not fearing the snipers or mortars, which were raining down the government-controlled part of Aleppo at the time.

"I entered frontlines. I never said no. I had suffered from mortar shells and snipers, which hit my car twice," she recounted, pointing to a cracked part of her windshield that was hit a by shrapnel.

She even got held by the rebels once while she was transporting a passenger to a rebel-held in the city, when she felt anxious about her car more than herself.

"I was held by the rebels for nine hours as they started accusing me of working for the government before they let me go but I wasn't feeling scared for myself, I was fearing for my car because it's all I have got," she said.

Um al-Noor, a Syrian woman in her 50s, stands next to her taxicab in Aleppo city, northern Syria, on Feb. 6, 2018. Um al-Noor is the first female taxi driver in Aleppo. (Xinhua photo/Ammar Safarjalani)

Al-Noor said she is proud of herself that she didn't beg for a living or do anything humiliating.

She also encourages women to stand up with pride and make their own livings, otherwise they will be ashamed, especially in times of war, when men are on frontlines or killed in the battles.

"It's not a shame for a woman to work ... I prefer being a taxi driver over having to need anyone else," she said.

The women with thick glasses also overcame her loneliness without a man to lean on by raising cats at home in Hamadaniyeh neighborhood in Aleppo.

Her house is almost empty with no furniture but a couple of plastic chairs and a bed, but she is still satisfied and empowered by her will to survive even though alone.

"My cats are like my family now, I share with them the same food I get and they receive me at the front door when I come back from work ... I am not alone," she said.

Al-Noor is one of the thousands of women who found themselves facing the tough war and life conditions alone, and eventually found themselves on what was perceived to be a man's job so that they don't get swollen entirely by the tough circumstances.

Now that the war is over in Aleppo city, al-Noor remained a taxi driver and she does some DJ parties in the afternoon, saying she has become famous as the first and only female driver in Aleppo who dared to enter places that no man dared to enter during the war.

"My family and friends are proud of me and the community look to the woman has changed after the war, as women have worked as butchers, and at distributing cooking gas and selling bread. All these occupations were for men but not anymore," she said.

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Feature: 1st female taxi driver in Syria's Aleppo shows self-reliance in times of hardship

Source: Xinhua 2018-02-14 16:07:02

Um al-Noor, a Syrian woman in her 50s, stands next to her taxicab in Aleppo city, northern Syria, on Feb. 6, 2018. Um al-Noor is the first female taxi driver in Aleppo. (Xinhua photo/Ammar Safarjalani)

by Hummam Sheikh Ali

ALEPPO, Syria, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Um al-Noor, the first female taxi driver in Syria's Aleppo, shows self-reliance in times of war and hardship.

"When the people first saw me, they got amazed but no one opposed me because everyone was busy struggling to secure the bread loaf," al-Noor, a Syrian woman in her 50s, said.

Wearing a hijab and a long jacket covering her body, Um al-Noor, meaning "the mother of light" in Arabic, lost everything when the war raged in Aleppo and found herself alone.

Having divorced before the war broke out, she lost in the war one of her sons, who served in the military in the capital Damascus.

Her other son was living in a besieged neighborhood in Aleppo, making her have no one to turn to when faced with difficulties.

She was working as a DJ in women-only parties ahead of the war, but that happy-party kind of work was wiped off by the unimaginable sufferings of the Syrian people in Aleppo.

Her life had dramatically changed, from entering parties to play music for cheering crowds, into entering frontline areas to deliver her scared passengers in her white taxicab, not fearing the snipers or mortars, which were raining down the government-controlled part of Aleppo at the time.

"I entered frontlines. I never said no. I had suffered from mortar shells and snipers, which hit my car twice," she recounted, pointing to a cracked part of her windshield that was hit a by shrapnel.

She even got held by the rebels once while she was transporting a passenger to a rebel-held in the city, when she felt anxious about her car more than herself.

"I was held by the rebels for nine hours as they started accusing me of working for the government before they let me go but I wasn't feeling scared for myself, I was fearing for my car because it's all I have got," she said.

Um al-Noor, a Syrian woman in her 50s, stands next to her taxicab in Aleppo city, northern Syria, on Feb. 6, 2018. Um al-Noor is the first female taxi driver in Aleppo. (Xinhua photo/Ammar Safarjalani)

Al-Noor said she is proud of herself that she didn't beg for a living or do anything humiliating.

She also encourages women to stand up with pride and make their own livings, otherwise they will be ashamed, especially in times of war, when men are on frontlines or killed in the battles.

"It's not a shame for a woman to work ... I prefer being a taxi driver over having to need anyone else," she said.

The women with thick glasses also overcame her loneliness without a man to lean on by raising cats at home in Hamadaniyeh neighborhood in Aleppo.

Her house is almost empty with no furniture but a couple of plastic chairs and a bed, but she is still satisfied and empowered by her will to survive even though alone.

"My cats are like my family now, I share with them the same food I get and they receive me at the front door when I come back from work ... I am not alone," she said.

Al-Noor is one of the thousands of women who found themselves facing the tough war and life conditions alone, and eventually found themselves on what was perceived to be a man's job so that they don't get swollen entirely by the tough circumstances.

Now that the war is over in Aleppo city, al-Noor remained a taxi driver and she does some DJ parties in the afternoon, saying she has become famous as the first and only female driver in Aleppo who dared to enter places that no man dared to enter during the war.

"My family and friends are proud of me and the community look to the woman has changed after the war, as women have worked as butchers, and at distributing cooking gas and selling bread. All these occupations were for men but not anymore," she said.

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