Yerevan, Armenia (January 13, 2014) – In recent months, 12 Armenian women who are survivors of domestic violence have received training in business planning and management from the Near East Foundation and its local partners in Armenia.
Four of the women have already successfully launched their own small businesses.
“This project has helped me start a new chapter in my life. Thanks to my new business, I will be able to provide for myself and for my children’s livelihood by doing my favorite activity,” shared one beneficiary who is now earning an income with her sewing skills.
In this one-year pilot project, NEF and its local partners are economically empowering 50 Armenian women survivors of domestic abuse by helping them gain the vocational and business skills to sustain themselves financially.
Women participate in workshops and trainings before developing a business plan. The women choose their business focus themselves based on their respective skills and interests.
Once their plan is reviewed and approved for financing, the women receive guidance from a business coach who advises them through the start-up phase and helps them strengthen their business network. The coach also organizes visits to similar businesses to allow the women to observe how a viable business operates.
With their newfound income, the women receiving this support can escape the cycle of abuse occurring in their homes and take control of their lives.
Four more women will soon receive financial support to launch their businesses after receiving additional training. The businesses range in focus from cosmetology to embroidery and agriculture.
A beneficiary who started a manicuring business shared, “I’ve learned the skills on how to organize my business, and I’ve also acquired all the necessary items to start my business. Now I will no longer be dependent on my husband’s income, and I can live separately with my kids without fear of abuse by him. I clearly understand the importance of this award for women like me, so I plan to get only the most important items for my business to save the funds for other women.’’
The women’s enthusiasm for the project is growing as they see tangible results in their financial situations and begin to gain economic independence – moving forward with increasing confidence towards a new life for their families.
NEF’s partners in the initiative include the Open Society Foundation, the U.S.-based Tufenkian Foundation, Business Pareta, the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Women’s Support Center of Yerevan.
The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa for nearly 100 years. Founded in 1915, NEF helps build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to implement grassroots solutions and to empower citizens through “knowledge, voice, and enterprise.”