Warda’s hair salon thrives in Beit Hanoun
“I was able to meet the basic needs of my family. I bought new clothes. I was able to keep my family afloat during these hard times.”
Warda, 37, had a life-long dream to own a beauty salon. Since she was a child, this mother of seven in Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza, has been practicing different hairstyles on anyone willing to volunteer.
"I used to ask [my cousins] if I could do their hair. And then I'd ask for feedback on my work," she recalls with a laugh.
As a young teenager, she began taking makeup tutorial classes in the summers. "It unlocked countless possibilities down the road," she says.
Hairdressing, once a hobby for her, has become a substantial source of income. Her husband has been unable to provide for the family since he developed a back ailment.
Through Anera’s women’s empowerment training, Warda gained resources on time management and learned how to persuasively tell her clients about the uniqueness of her work.
It also helped, she adds, that “I received high-quality makeup that allowed me to advocate for the quality of my work.”
There are high seasons in her business. For instance, during eid she was at the salon until 3:00 am to finish with all of her clients. She currently earns some $100 (300NIS) each month. This revenue is quite a relief given the uncertainties created by COVID-19. Warda had launched her business a few months ago, just as Gaza and the rest of the world began shutting down to limit the pandemic outbreak.
Nothing can match the relief of being able to provide for your children.
“I was able to meet the basic needs of my family. I bought new clothes. I was able to keep my family afloat during these hard times,” she says.
Despite her significant progress, Warda hasn't satisfied all of her ambitions yet. She is hoping to grow her clientele and start hiring, and thus empowering, more women in the beauty business.
Among the challenges she faces in expanding her business are the frequent electricity cuts — she often must rely on a generator to dry her clients hair. “I have to monitor the situation carefully so I can coordinate the schedules of my clients when the electricity is on.”
When school is out, her teenage daughter comes in to help. She helps Warda apply hair therapy creams for clients and also assists with marketing her salon through Facebook. “I post hairstyles of models on the page, so clients can pick the ones they like.”
Warda is one of 15 women who launched a beauty care small business in Beit Hanoun. Anera project provided furniture such as chairs and mirrors along with basic hairstyle and hair dye supplies in addition to facial care materials and professional makeup kits.
Through Anera’s women’s empowerment program, in partnership with the Cooperative Society for Saving and Lending (CSSL), we are supporting 60 women in Beit Hanoun to launch enterprises to earn an income in Gaza’s constricted economy.