W O M E N A N D G I R L S
Entrepreneurship for women is an important means for income generation in developing countries, especially as female participation in the job market is appallingly less than that of males. HCI has been working with women and girls for over three decades, inspiring them to become active and self-reliant.
In Jalalabad, women from low income households participate in sewing classes as part of HCI's small business start-up and women empowerment initiatives. The women also receive sewing machines to enable them to manufacture merchandise from home.
In Faisalabad, young women from low income households are trained in cutting, designing, stitching and the usage of commercial sewing machines as part of HCI's women empowerment projects. After completing the training, the participants receive certificates. A number of young women obtained employment within the garment industry; others work from home.
HCI funded post-secondary education of 35 aspiring teachers, majority women, from low income households. $12,000 was invested in the training, aimed to increase post-secondary education for women. After completion, the new educators will increase the qualified teaching staff in Somalia, and positively contribute to local development.
Last summer HCI partnered up with WATAN to develop an income-generating project for Syrian women living in Turkey's refugee camps. The ongoing project offers training courses and raw materials for the production of hand-woven and knitted scarves, shawls, sweaters and other clothing, rugs, and hand bags. Once the products are finished, they are sold locally, as well as in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
The project is managed by six administrators who are also project beneficiaries. In addition to vocational training and merchandise production, a business course is offered to teach and promote entrepreneurship. 95 women participate in the project, which continues to grow. The majority of women, between 18 and 50, are married, with children. For most women, the income they generate supports the entire family.
HCI developed a similar project in Jordan, where 80 women received sewing training as well as sewing and beading supplies to make jewelry, clothing, wall hangings and other crafts. The project participants were also educated in marketing and sales, in order to help with the promotion of their merchandise. Once sold, the women retain the profits.