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Micro-fund boosts women’s opportunities for entrepreneurship

By Suzanna Goussous - Jun 11,2017 - Last updated at Jun 11,2017

Mariam Mutlaq, a plumber in Zarqa, said that after taking a women-only plumbing course, she was chosen by the Micro-fund for Women to start her own plumbing business in the governorate (Photo courtesy of MFW)

AMMAN — More than 977,534 women have started their own business since the launch of the Micro-fund for Women (MFW) in 1996, with a total of JD408,290,039  provided in loans to start small- and medium-sized businesses for women, according to the fund. 

Initiated by Save the Children over 20 years ago, the MFW is a non-profit organisation that aims to empower women in the field of business and encourage them to become self-sufficient breadwinners for their houses and communities.

The fund has a total of 60 branches across Jordan, located in the capital, the western central region, the north, south and the Badia. 

The main aim of the fund is to empower women and engage them in different sectors of the local market, according to Tuhama Nabulsi, MFW’s public relations and external communication manager.

Intisar Harb’s innovative business idea of making use of the benefits of dates and roasting date seeds to create coffee drinks is one of the projects to be funded by the MFW.

Manal Obeid, who started a home-based business for food supplies in Al Hussein area, said she took a loan from the fund five years ago and has been working since then. 

“My project has encouraged me to go further. Although I was just starting, it has empowered me and enabled me to pay my daughter’s university fees,” the mother of two told The Jordan Times.

Obeid participates in several exhibitions and events around Jordan to showcase her homemade products and attract a wider market, she explained, adding that this enabled her to buy a car to deliver orders to customers and expand her project.

“As working women, we have overcome hardships and proved that we can do it. We were married at a young age and didn’t get the chance to continue our studies. This is a way to do what we love and gain income,” she added.

The businesswoman took a course on the role of women in businesses and entrepreneurship, which Obeid said has widened her view on the principles of businesses. 

Mariam Mutlaq, a plumber in Zarqa, said that after taking a women-only plumbing course, she was chosen by the MFW to start her own plumbing business in Zarqa.

“It isn’t easy to work in a field considered a ‘man’s job’; we live in a conservative society and to enter such a career path has many consequences,” Mutlaq said.

She has undergone several challenges when she started her business some three years ago, facing problems with her family members, children and society.

“I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to change something, not for the world to see, but also for myself. To prove to myself that I can do it,” she added.

Mutlaq continued: “It’s a long journey. It’s difficult to adapt at first, but now I am proud to say that I am a plumber. I feel so proud of myself now that I’ve accomplished my goal.”

The mother of four said her children did not accept the idea when she first started, but her husband supported her despite all the challenges.

She started a plumbing project at her daughters’ school to challenge the “culture of shame” and to show her pride in what she does, she said.

“To find a balance between my family, housework and business was one of the hardest things I had dealt with. Of course, sometimes you will get discouraged, but you always have to get up and fight back,” Mutlaq said.

“Us women, when we focus on an idea, we always work towards accomplishing it. We can change society’s views and overcome all the challenges we face,” she told The Jordan Times. 

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