Asmaa Gets Her Sheep Business off the Ground in Gaza
“After receiving a grant from Anera, I began a new stage in my life." — Asmaa
Asmaa, 28, lives in Beit Hanoun, a city on the northeast edge of Gaza. The mother of three says having the sheep-raising business is a huge help for her during these unprecedented times. Asmaa began the project in a small barn next to her house. "I’ve always wanted a business that is right next door, because I can’t go out and leave my kids alone a lot during the day,” she says.
“I chose to do this because I have experience with sheep. I also had unused space available but never had the resources to do anything with it. The grant helps me to make my ambitions a reality,” Asmaa says. She named her sheep farm, Shaam, after her youngest daughter. Asmaa wants to make the business profitable enough so that she can start her own line of dairy products.
“I grew up watching my grandmother making cheese and labneh from sheep milk and I can build my business on this knowledge,” she says.
Every morning before sunrise, Asmaa heads out to the barn to check the health of her sheep, hoping that one gives birth. “I am super patient. I know that it takes time to see the results. I really hope to make some money and, from the savings, buy more sheep. I now have four and I hope next year to have eight,” she says. “Four months from now, I can probably sell each at $500.”
During these pandemic times, milking her sheep and spending time with the animals helps Asmaa let go of stress. And, she is able to provide for her children.
“Every day I fill a bottle with milk for my children. This is the best meal I can offer. Sheep milk is an excellent source of calcium and fills their stomachs.”
The grant that Anera provided to Asmaa is part of our Gaza Women Economic and Social Empowerment project in northern Gaza. We selected 15 vulnerable women according to the project selection criteria to receive grants ranging in value from $2,000 to $3,000. The women also took part in a management training, offered in cooperation with Anera’s local partner, the Cooperative Society for Saving and Lending.