Palestinian Business women Participate in Products Exhibition in Kuwait

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Photo: UNDP Palestine

Overview: Productive families Economic Empowerment Programme - DEEP

  • DEEP, is an over USD 100 million programme launched in 2007, in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Planning, to target the poor and vulnerable, yet productive Palestinian families in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
  • The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is DEEP main donor followed by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), the Government of Japan, New Zealand, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and UNDP.
  • Since 2007, DEEP provided economic empowerment activities for more than 13,000 poor families and created over 32,500 job opportunities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, through financing potential micro and small existing businesses, and establishing start-up businesses for poor, yet productive families through grants or Islamic micro-financing.
  • DEEP provided packages of social supportive activities, which include health, educational support and housing rehabilitation, to more than 8,900 Palestinian families.
  • DEEP is not associated with financing businesses only, but also provides capacity building and technical assistance to the targeted families on business planning and development, to ensure sustainability of the established businesses.

The stories behind the women who participated at the Kuwait Exhibit

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Mariam Haj Ali, As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery
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Mariam Haj Ali, As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery
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Mariam Haj Ali, As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery
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Mariam Haj Ali, As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery
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Mariam Haj Ali, As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery
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Mariam Haj Ali, As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery
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Mariam Haj Ali, As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery

Mariam Haj Ali: As-Sanabel for Straw knitting, handicrafts and Grocery 

Mariam Haj Ali from Nablus city in the West Bank is the main breadwinner for her son’s family, which consists of nine people. Mariam’s son suffers from a mental and physical disorder as a result of an accident 20 years ago. His disability has restrained him from any kind of work. Since then, Mariam started supporting him and his family.

Mariam started using her skills in making handcrafts from wheat spikes, selling straw products and generating income. However, she never managed to cover her family’s daily needs because this is considered a seasonal craft. Due to her difficult financial situation, Mariam was nominated by the village committee to apply for the DEEP Women Entrepreneurs intervention. She participated in the training and coaching organized by DEEP on business planning and development.

With the USD 6,360 financial support from the DEEP programme, Mariam managed to develop her own business plan and in February 2015 she established her own grocery store, with a corner for her straw handicrafts.

A few months later, she participated in the Palestinian Industries exhibit in Kuwait city, where she managed to sell all her products and take orders for items to be produced once back home. Through the income she generated in Kuwait, Mariam bought raw materials to deliver the new orders to local businesses, including a new restaurant in Ramallah, and individuals.

“My income is increasing”, says Mariam. “Now I can cover my family’s requirements and have become less dependent on subsidies and charities”. 

 

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Zahwa Suleiman Amer Zahwa’s Embroidery and Accessories
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Zahwa Suleiman Amer Zahwa’s Embroidery and Accessories
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Zahwa Suleiman Amer Zahwa’s Embroidery and Accessories
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Zahwa Suleiman Amer Zahwa’s Embroidery and Accessories
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Zahwa Suleiman Amer Zahwa’s Embroidery and Accessories

Zahwa Suleiman Amer: Zahwa’s Embroidery and Accessories

Zahwa Amer, a wife and a mother for six from Ras Al-amoud in Jerusalem. For twenty years, she has been suffering from movement restrictions between the West Bank and East Jerusalem, because she holds a Palestinian ID, unlike her husband who holds a Jerusalem one. Being a second wife also adds to her difficult social and economic situation, especially that her husband has to provide for two families.

The neighbourhood committee for the DEEP Women Entrepreneurs nominated Zahwa, to attend a training on business planning and development for 12 days, particularly because her business idea was to produce dairy products from the milk she collects from her five friends who raise goats and sell these products, with the embroidery pieces she makes, in her grocery shop.

Zahwa was a quick learner during the training, and proofed her commitment and dedication. After she received the business start-up support package from DEEP, worth USD 11,753, she was able to generate income to support her family and five families from the neighbourhood through marketing their products in her shop. : My participation in the Palestinian Industries Exhibition in Kuwait in April 2015 I discovered the new Zahwa inside of me. I managed to sell my products internationally, in Kuwait. This has boosted my self-confidence and rejuvenated our life as a family”.

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Jawad Muhammad Shalaldeh Olive Wood Handicrafts
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Jawad Muhammad Shalaldeh Olive Wood Handicrafts

Jawad Muhammad Shalaldeh: Olive Wood Handicrafts

Jawad Shalaldeh, a father of six from Sair in Hebron, has a physical disability since childhood, where he can barely move or work. Due to his difficult socio-economic situation, he received a grant of USD 4000 from DEEP to start up his business in olive woodcrafts, as he has experience in that field. As he received the grant, he in cooperation with his wife, started producing different art pieces made of wood, selling them in Bethlehem to tourists.

However, they faced some difficulties in marketing their products due to the large number of competitors in the same industry. They persevered, sustained their business and generated income. His wife, Na’mat, was nominated to participate in the Palestinian Industries Exhibition in Kuwait on behalf of her husband, since his disability prevented him from participation. “This is the first time in my whole life that I travel outside my hometown to participate in the exhibition”, Na’mat said. During the exhibit, Na’mat was able to interact with different traders, small producers and other women, and got exposed to new ideas in olive wood products.

She managed to sell all her products through learning from her peers, exhibiting under the DEEP booth, on how to promote her products. After she travelled back to her town Sair, she bought new raw materials and tools from the money she earned from the Kuwait Exhibition, and she, with her husband, produced new pieces that sold out, and generated more income for their family. 

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Reem Al-Masri: Reem’s Handicrafts “Drawing on Glass and Pottery”

Reem Al-Masri: Reem’s Handicrafts “Drawing on Glass and Pottery”

Reem Al-Masri is a mother of two daughters and a wife from Nablus. Her husband, who was once a well-established trader, is currently unemployed and had to sell most of his property to cover the debts resulting from his bankruptcy. Reem, a graduate from the Arts College, never sought employment until the family was faced with a financial crisis, and so she started looking for anybody to finance her business. She managed to get a grant, worth USD 5000, from DEEP.

Since then, she became the main breadwinner for her family. She showcased her products in some hotels and participated in different local exhibitions and in the region. Every time she participated in an exhibit, she used part of the income to buy raw materials to make new products. “ I could not bare the fact that my girls wanted something that I could not buy, but now I can get them new clothes and buy all their school requirements,” Reem said. Reem’s products sold out at the Palestinian Industries Exhibition in Kuwait. That contributed to improving her livelihood, increased her self confidence and motivated her to develop her talent further and she sold out all her products, which contributes to enhancing herself & talent confidence, and revitalize her business.

For more information: Dania Darwish,dania.darwish@undp.org

 

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