CAIRO: The Egyptian project Women-Friendly Cities is helping many housewives become entrepreneurs, enabling them to financially support their families alongside their husbands.

Sponsored by the UN, the project was launched in the governorate of Damietta, north of Cairo, two years ago.

Jameela Sayed, one of the beneficiaries of the project, said: “I suffered from long periods of idleness and was looking for a way to utilize my time. There was no place for me and my children to go out and learn something new, so I decided to use my talent and produce handmade works.

“Initially, I made crocheted clothes for my children and decorative items and tableaux for my home, distributing gifts to my friends.

The project’s goals are to provide various services to women and their children, setting an example for women- friendly cities.

Project official

“When I heard about this project, I applied and joined the training on how to plan a small business by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. This was a turning point in the transformation of my talent into a private project to increase my family’s income.”

Reema Mohammed, a woman with a disability, said: “I started learning the art of crochet in free handicraft workshops offered by the Egyptian National Council for Women as part of the Women-Friendly Cities project.

“Despite my lifelong disability, which made learning difficult, I quickly became a teacher to young children.

“My joy these days comes from teaching children, especially those with special needs, thanks to what I learned in the training workshops.

“We have made products like dolls, figurines, accessories, and medals, and participated in many international exhibitions.”

An official of the project, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that while the project focuses primarily on training women, it also offers activities for children, such as reading areas and parks: “The project’s goals are to provide various services to women and their children, setting an example for women-friendly cities.

“We are also trying to implement successive educational and training plans on different crafts, as well as provide marketing opportunities for their products, thereby achieving the goal of economic empowerment for women.”

Source : Arab News

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