Ms. Sahar, from al-Aghwar al-Wasta/al-Karama, is one of beneficiaries of the Savings and Loans Groups which provided her the means to start her personal project: a small, local sewing shop in which she works with her sister and aunt. Through this business, these women are able to serve their community either by sewing clothes and curtains, and embroidering or tailoring traditional dresses. Their work and products are worth 200 dinar per month, the equivalent of 2400 dinar per year. This project increased their family’s salary and strengthened the familial bond between Sahar, her husband, and her children. Sahar’s husband is her biggest supporter and helps her with sewing and buying fabrics for her work.
Ms. Sahar says that she neither had enough money to implement her project, nor the marketing skills to sell her products and manage a business, but NAFE provided her with the opportunity to take out loans and establish her small business without resorting to predatory and usurious money-lending institutions with high interest rates. NAFE also provided her with additional training for management of her small business.
On a recent field visit to the Jordan Valley, members of NAFE were able to catch up with the wonderful Jordanian women participating in their Savings and Loan Groups (SLGS). Over the course of the day, NAFE members were able to speak to the women on the importance of continued participation in the SLG and how it could help them achieve economic freedom. After addressing some of the concerns of the women, members were able to meet with the women directly to track progress on their business ventures. The first woman shown, Fadia, was able to open up a small market in her village through the micro-loan of the SLG program. In her free time Fadia works the market in hopes to make extra money, but allows other members of the community to work when she is not available. By the end of the week, the women receive on average a 30 dinar in profit to be split among those who worked. Fadia says the market has been a great addition to their community, providing her and many of the other women extra work to help bolster their income. The market also has been beneficial in providing a rewarding supply of products, like kids toys, to be purchased with the new cash flow in the area.
The second woman in the video, Asmaa’, was able to start a cooking business through NAFE’s SLG program. After receiving a 200 dinar loan, Asmaa’ was able to buy the cooking equipment necessary to make falafel. With everything she needs to produce her delicious falafel, Asmaa’ has been able to sell her falafel to the families around her. Realizing the impact it has made on her life, Asmaa’ encourages all women in the area to participate in the SLG program. Any women with an entrepreneurial idea will be supported by the SLG community and will have the chance to gain economic security and independence.
The last two women featured in the video entered a business partnership together, combining 50 dinar to purchase vegetables to pickle. Their pickling business has allowed them to establish some financial independence, and they hope that it can grow further in the future. Zakia and Fatima said the SLG savings box helped improve their situation and can help other women in the region.
Visiting just a few of the women’s businesses was a great way to capture the impact of NAFE’s SLG program. This simple savings program has allowed countless women across the Jordan Valley to establish long lasting financial security and independence.