Seven years ago, 29 year-old Dalia fled from Iraq to Zarqa, Jordan, with her husband and two children. They had to live in a two-room house because her husband’s illness prevented him from working, and they could not afford to rent a bigger home. Dalia knew she had to do something to improve her family’s situation.
Dalia loved to sew, but without a sewing machine she could not make enough clothes by hand to earn a profit. When she heard about NEF’s Enhancing Economic Resilience for Displaced Iraqis and Poor Jordanians (EER) program, Dalia recognized an opportunity to turn her sewing skill into a tailoring business. “I told them I already had all of the sewing skills, but I had no marketing knowledge,” she says. “So the marketing training was really good for me.”
With cash assistance from NEF, Dalia bought two sewing machines and some fabric to begin her business. She learned how to get a good price for material, do bookkeeping, keep production records, and calculate profits. To her surprise, she also learned she could actually make more money by keeping her prices low and selling more product—a valuable lesson that has quadrupled her income.
Dalia’s husband, who owned a clothing shop in Iraq, also contributes to her business. “His knowledge about customers’ preferences is better than mine,” Dalia explains. “He encourages and supports me, and when I go to the suq, he goes with me to help choose the most popular colors for the fabrics.”
Running her own business has given Dalia greater confidence, which she feels will continue to open doors for her in the future. She hopes to increase her production as soon as she is able to buy a faster sewing machine. “Having more self-confidence means I can build my business bigger and bigger,” she says. “With NEF’s help, I was able to improve my family’s financial situation— life is so much better than before.”
This project is financed by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.