EBRD and EU help Syrian refugee women build their businesses

By Dima Hamdallah

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Leaving one’s home behind under the harshest circumstances of war is reason enough to be wrested of all hope for any positive future. Yet, the personal experiences of the Syrian women refugees residing at Homs League Abroad -a non-profit organisation in Jordan currently housing 107 mothers and their children –challenge commonly held stereotypes surrounding today’s refugees of war and conflict.

Together with the European Union, the EBRD supports refugees’ economic integration by helping them build and develop new marketable skills. Through the EBRD’s advisory services for small businesses, the Bank connected with Homs League to provide training opportunities for female refugees in food and garment production. The League’s own clients had their part to play in these stories’ positive turn of events.

 “Bil Foron” – literally translated as ‘’in the oven ‘’ – is a mobile application that trains women to make food; and“Fashion Way” is a textile factory that quite simply teacheswomen how to make garments.

Narjis Al Kilani, a Syrian mother of five who has lived in the League for over 3 years, is one among many who have received catering training.  

 “The training significantly improved my cooking skills, taught me new cooking techniques and even perfected some of my dishes that my children now always ask for!” says Narjis.

107 Syrian widows and their children live at Homs League Abroad an NGO based in Amman, Jordan. 

Together with EU we provided training in food and garment production for them.

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 She added that these new skills will help her make a fresh start, brand herself in a new light, and integrate better in Jordanian society. “Bil Foron” now has a dedicated space on their mobile application for the League that customers all over Jordan can access and order from. Narjis will be able to make extra money, and save it to support her return back home.

Aisha Al Hameed shares a similar story. She is a mother of two, and has lived in the League since 2015. Without any previous knowledge of or skill in garment production, she was trained by the “Fashion Way” to make clothes entirely from scratch

 “I’m grateful to have been trained to sew, and I’m now selling the pieces I make at the factory retail shop in Amman. I’m able to support my family working as a seamstress, which is something I get excited about and love very much – especially when I’m surrounded by the buzzing of sewing machines!

Operating in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, Homs League has been hosting over 500 women and children refugees from Syria since 2015. The non-profit and numerous other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Jordan have managed to develop their businesses with the help of the EBRD and donor funds from the European Union.

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