Since 2012, the Near East Foundation has worked in Armenia to support survivors of domestic violence. Through job and microenterprise training, women who participate in NEF’s Women’s Economic Empowerment and Advocacy project are able to release themselves from abuse by achieving economic independence.
In August, a third round of business trainings was organized, concurrently serving as a networking event where women came together to discuss shared experiences, and similar motivations. *Ani, a woman who previously participated in the job and business trainings, spoke to the progressive changes that have occurred in her life with a group of aspiring women.
“You should not get disappointed even if you meet serious problems on your way to earning an income. I could not continue my work in my workplace but initiated another option to earn money: I started my own business.”
Through the job component, NEF assisted Ani to find work as a sales manager at a publishing company. After running into challenges that stemmed from lack of time, complications with childcare and a low salary, it was apparent she could no longer continue. The realization propelled Ani to become involved with NEF business trainings.
To make a living doing something you love is a persistent sentiment for many, and Ani, not unfamiliar to this, developed a business plan for cake production based on preexisting baking skills. With her newly acquired business management and ownership capabilities, she is now ready to expand her home-based business into the market.
“It makes it easier to know that we have NEF with us and that experts are pleased to help us with any issues we experience. The challenges are behind me now and I am working on expanding my business. This is a new and welcoming challenge. Business is a huge field of creativity and I am excited.”
Participants at the event eagerly absorbed Ani’s experience. Hearing the story of a past participant gave perspective and breath to possibilities formerly stifled by domestic abuse. NEF’s trainings lend optimism to potential business ventures and give voice to goals once muffled by a detrimental cycle. This particular networking event served as an encouraging source of inspiration for women on the precipice of change.
NEF gratefully acknowledges the support of OSF Armenia and Bogosian Quigley Foundation