Women can design their own future with a little startup support
The whirling sound of the sewing machine broke the silence of the spacious room where Fatima Suliman was busy making pillow covers for a neighbor. As she pressed the pedal down to begin sewing she looked out the window at her scenic surroundings in the West Bank village of Biddu.
Surrounded by bolts of colored threads, the 44-year-old mother of four quickly finished the pillow cover and reached for another. Fatima has been the sole breadwinner of the family since her husband died a few years ago. “Sewing brings me good revenue and I can work at home,” she says.
“Sewing brings me good revenue and I can work at home.”
Before she married, Fatima worked full time at local factories sewing clothes every day. She wanted to use those skills to build her own business but couldn’t afford a sewing machine. Fatima says women who have to take care of their families often struggle to get loans or other credit.
When Fatima heard about Anera’s Women Can program, she didn’t hesitate to apply. Anera launched the program in the West Bank in 2019, with funding from Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). The empowerment program helps women increase their economic independence and financial resources by strengthening their skills, supplying the equipment they need and offering training in business management.
Now, Fatima uses her own sewing machine that Anera purchased for her so she can repair clothing for neighbors. “I had nothing to begin with and now I have a decent job that offers a dignified living for my family.”
Full of confidence, Fatima shares her vision for the future: “I want to expand my business and design dresses and one day open my own shop.”
For Fatima, tailoring is more than work. “It’s a lifesaver for me so I can provide what is needed to secure my children’s future.”
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.