This time last year Jamila, who fled with her family to Lebanon from Homs in 2011, didn’t know how she and her husband would cover their living costs and cope with mounting medical bills.
Unsure of where to turn, a chance conversation with her neighbors led Jamila to NEF’s Siraj center in Minieh and on a path to secure financial stability. Recalling the discussion, she remembered, “they mentioned a project that offered training and cash grants for people with business ideas.”
Although Jamila had run a small, handmade accessories business in Syria, she found herself isolated and unable to raise the capital to restart in Lebanon. Jamila was accepted into the livelihoods project and described the training as an amazing opportunity. “When it was finished, I missed it, not only the learning but the social connections. I met new people, I felt as if I was existing and not just sitting at home” she explained.
With a newly crafted business plan in hand, Jamila is rediscovering the satisfaction of running her own small venture. She conveys a quiet confidence, and explained how she invested a cash grant into a colorful stock of beads and threads, has established a Facebook page for marketing, and is devoting her time to expanding her range. She proudly showcases a folder of neatly filed accounts and invoices and made it clear that her first priority is to meet and satisfy her customers’ needs.
Sitting behind a table that serves as an improvised shop in the lounge room of her home, Jamila now describes a very different and more optimistic picture of life, “I am proud to be able to provide for my family, we have no debt and we are comfortable. It is not always easy, but I enjoy knowing I don’t have to ask for support.”