Hanin Omran is a fierce advocate in the humanitarian field and is deeply committed to community-based work and volunteerism. As the Regional Director of Operations for Partners Relief and Development, Hanin helps coordinate the emergency response to crises in the Middle East in an effort to support children affected by conflict.
WISE formed a lifelong partnership and friendship Hanin through the Community Solutions Program* in 2018 where she helped set the groundwork for WISE’ current healthy relationships program. Hanin enjoys meeting different people, hearing their stories, and trying to help when she can. She also loves dancing and believes one of the best ways of communicating her feelings is through music.
Hanin's Journey: Dealing with gender norms and finding her path
Growing up, Hanin found the social norms in her community to be both rewarding and challenging. Hanin experienced criticism from others because the gender norms in her community dictated that she must be a stay-at-home wife and let men make decisions on her behalf. “Within my experience, I was criticized several times because I have a long-term objective of learning, having a leadership position, and even volunteering to help others,” says Hanin.
“Growing up in a loving family was a blessing. The culture within my community had a different view though, where boys had specific roles in life, which are different from girls.”
Luckily, Hanin had the love and support of her family to grow her passion and encourage her to find opportunities to match her goals. When she decided to travel alone for the first time, she remembered how happy and excited she was for the new prospects and how her mother supported her. Breaking these barriers was challenging but Hanin also thinks of it as a motivating experience that will shine “positive light among the darkest moments.”
These encouragements led Hanin to the field of humanitarian aid, youth leadership, peacebuilding, and women’s empowerment. In 2010, she began volunteering to help Syrian youth and young adults overcome educational and leadership challenges. Having a Bachelor’s of Economics from Damascus University, Hanin was able to provide academic support in microeconomics, leadership, statistical economics, and mathematical economics. She also provided coaching to build their self-esteem and connected them to job opportunities. Hanin saw her small group of two girls expand to coaching more than 650 Syrian, Iraqi, and Palestinian residents in Syria.
By 2011, Hanin started to shift her professional focus to international development due to the Syrian conflict and unrest.
“Watching people run from guns and explosions, leaving behind their memories, money, their past, pictures, legal documents, and even their souls to reach safety, motivated me to utilize all the required skills to help them; therefore, for the past twelve years, I have been working with international organizations in different capacities to help people who are in need of humanitarian assistance.”
Over the years, Hanin has honed her skills in humanitarian response through international training sessions and certificates. She is a certified youth TOT (training of trainers) peacebuilding trainer and has studied leadership and project management from George Mason University. Hanin has recently started a Master’s Practitioner in Compassionate Systems Framework with the School of Systems Awareness. At the same time, she continues to coordinate on-the-ground relief work with Partners Relief and Development, traveling between Syria, Iraq, and Yemen to provide emergency crisis response and development work.
Hanin is currently coordinating the response in Turkey and Syria due to the earthquake that occurred in February 2023.
Hanin's Work at Partners Relief and Development
Partner’s passion and care towards working with children in areas impacted by conflict and oppression is what drew Hanin to the organization. Partners provides emergency relief during acute crisis events and works with communities of displaced families to design sustainable development initiatives that transform community wellbeing, improve health and education, and provide a nurturing environment for children.
Hanin’s role as the Regional Director of Operations for the Middle East includes strategic planning and designing projects based on the needs in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. She manages emergency preparedness and response to any crisis in the region and works with those severely affected to provide education, women’s empowerment development, infrastructure rebuilding, and other emergency response services.
Hanin says this of her team at Partners:
“One of the most valuable things that influenced me with Partners is that they accepted me as a female leader within the region, where they believe in my skills and ability to work in program development and relief support.”
How You Can Help
Hanin is currently leading the emergency response work for the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. Please support Hanin and Partners Relief and Development in their work to help the families impacted by the earthquake.
*The Community Solutions Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by IREX.
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