Mahmoud and Sidi taught children Kurdish language lessons in underground bunkers, to try to keep them from wandering onto the battlefield and getting caught in the crossfire. She also helped collect and sanitize the aftermath of battles after Kurdish forces repelled ISIS, to keep weapons and rotting corpses from polluting the soil and water supply.
“As an engineer, I was appointed as a common chair of the municipality in June 2015. We started working in a small team…repairing water and sewage channels, street by street,” Mahmoud said. “At the beginning of 2018, I was appointed as the joint head of the Office of Engineers in Kobani for a year. I received a job from Rcell
[to reestablish infrastructure and provide internet to the people] in 2019, and until now I’ve continued to work in this company.”
There were so many harrowing journeys in between, including a four-month stint in a Turkish prison, when she was arrested while trying to visit her exiled family, and weeks of sneaking across terrorist-controlled territory to make it back to Kobani. From all this, Mahmoud learned a few tips that are applicable to any woman striving to make a name for herself in male-dominated fields.
“The most important thing for women is to have confidence in themselves and their abilities and not hesitate to do the work,” Mahmoud said. “Stay away from people who have negative energy towards women’s work. Then set both daily goals and future program goals and always try to achieve them.”