Notes of Hope for Women in Qalqilya
Palestinian women regularly overcome challenges to ensure bright futures for their families and their children. Given an opportunity, they seize it.
Saeda, one of the trainees, is battling both illness and a lack of opportunities. She says tenaciously, “Although I'm fighting cancer, it's my duty to make a better future for my seven girls and provide them with good education."
Fifteen years ago, Saeda farmed olive trees on her land. “When I was a child, my grandparents taught me how to plant olive groves. These are still my favorite childhood memories," she says. These days she can no longer access her land due to the political situation and her family now depends on donations from charitable organizations.
Saeda had a business idea inspired by a need that she noticed in her village. People often are forced to reschedule social events because there isn’t enough furniture available in Qalqilya for such occasions. Saeda saw an opportunity here; however, she was unable to act on her idea because, as she points out, "No one can start a project without enough funding."
With the support of Anera, she plans to open a small shop out of their house, renting chairs and tables for local events, weddings and parties.
The business will allow Saeda and her daughters to work from home, an important consideration in some traditional, conservative communities. She will start by promoting her project through social media and contacting customers from her home.
When the trainers asked the burgeoning businesswomen to share their hopes and worries on slips of paper, Saeda wrote about her dreams for her project. But she kept her struggle with cancer to herself. She is determined not to let illness deter her from leading a proactive life.
Stylish Haircuts for Teenagers
Another participant, Raeda, is 41 years old and a mother of four. "I've been telling my children how this training has affected me deeply,” she says. “It has not only taught me how to implement a small business. It has changed how I want to live my life and relate to my children."
She currently raises rabbits and pigeons for income, but still has trouble covering all of her children's needs. With the support of the Anera’s program, Raeda is launching a salon business with her eldest son, Afeef to increase their family's income. Currently, the 19-year-old works for low wages in a barbershop.
Raeda will manage the project while her son will work as a stylist, specializing in offering the latest trendy hairstyles.
Raeda hopes the business will become the go-to salon for young men seeking the latest cuts and attractive styles.
"I am looking forward to making a better future for him and his siblings," Raeda says.
Anera's Women Can project in the West Bank, Palestine is generously funded by Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). 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.