After long years of abuse and harassment by her husband, Alina finally got up the courage to go to a hospital and then to a women’s shelter. Nine years of married life had sapped all of her energy and self-confidence, and killed her motivation to work. Alina never imagined that one day she could find the power within herself to stand up for her children and support them by starting her own business. But before long, she was an active participant in the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Advocacy (WEEA) project, which provides business training and small grants to help domestic abuse survivors become economically independent.
Taking into account her baking skills and the fact that her mother would be able to offer help, Alina developed a business plan for producing cakes. She researched local markets and was pleased to discover that the products she was planning to offer are in high demand. In addition to providing business training, the WEEA project helped Alina obtain the equipment and materials needed to start her small home-based business making pakhlava and gata cakes to deliver to several stores in Yerevan. ‘’I make them very well,” she says. “The taste of my product is special—it is the best.”
Alina says she is proud that earning a living by baking cakes was her idea and grateful that now she has the business skills needed to generate sustainable income so she can care for her family. In fact, the number of stores requesting her baked goods is increasing, so she is planning to expand production volume to satisfy market demand. ‘’I like baking, and now I’m busy with my own business and favorite job,” she says. “It helps me forget the mistreatment I had to live with for so many years.”