Fayrouz’s beauty salon in the Palestinian village of Qarawat Bani Zeid is thriving thanks to support for women head-of-household entrepreneurs
The Women Can program has given itself one main mission: to empower Palestinian women. Funded by Islamic Relief USA, Anera’s Women Can program supports Palestinian women-headed families in the West Bank — some 12% of households. Based on the business needs of each woman, Anera provides support by contracting local suppliers and assisting in the procurement and installation of the equipment required for each woman’s business venture.
By participating in this program, Fayrouz’s Salon, in the Palestinian village of Qarawat Bani Zeid, has come back to life. The 42-year-old hair stylist and make-up artist recalls how her late husband helped her make her dream come true: “He was not just my husband. He was my friend and teacher. Put those together, and he was the only hero I’ll ever have.”
To show he was serious, Fayrouz's husband helped her open her first salon in a small bedroom in her house. And he cleared out his things in the garage a few years later to help her expand the business.
“Other husbands are intimidated by women who want to run their business, but my late husband immediately started working to help me grow my business,” she says. Fayrouz has the look of a woman who has just fallen head over heels in love.
“He believed in me and the desire I had to do something for the women in my village.”
Clients came and Fayrouz thrived for many years. However, at a point, she could not get furniture and equipment that would allow her to provide the best service. And it took its toll on the salon.
“I started to lose many customers because I did not have the proper chair for makeup, or to wash and blow dry my customers' hair. I couldn't blame them, of course. Women started going to newer, better equipped salons that opened in the village.”
"Women... started going to other newer, better-equipped salons that opened in the village.”
She therefore started spending less time at the salon and more time with her children and her husband. One blisteringly cold February morning, Fayrouz’s life would change forever. “My husband just wouldn’t wake up. Right then and there, I became the sole breadwinner of the household. Just like that,” she says.
After her mourning period ended, Fayrouz knew she was stuck. With her salon incomplete and not suitable to provide services, she prayed for a miracle.
“That miracle came in the form of Anera,” she says. "I was told to make a list of the furniture and equipment needed to help me jump start my salon again."
“Now my old and my new clients are constantly commending me for running a salon with excellent services,” Fayrouz says. "This is just the beginning."
“Today, I have a proper salon! And I have no plans of stopping here. Visit me in a year to see the new beauty center I will open. We will do big things here.”
Big indeed. Through Anera sponsored training workshops, Fayrouz has developed a new vision to expand her salon to include nail, skin care, and spa services – an expansion that will require hiring more women.
"My old and new clients constantly commend me for running a salon with excellent services.”
“This is not just about promoting my salon. It’s about job creation and supporting each other for women empowerment — because we can.”
"Visit me in a year to see the new beauty center I will open. We will do big things here.”
The views expressed herein are those of Anera and shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the official opinion of IRUSA, its Islamic Relief affiliates, or its donors.