Photo of the Day: St. George College Group Visits TYO Center

On Friday, February 18, 2011 Tomorrow’s Youth Organization hosted a delegation from St. George’s College in Jerusalem. The group of 25 visitors came to TYO as part of their 14-day exploration of the Holy Land and their encounter with its various persons within it. While at the TYO Center, the group met with TYO’s Spring 2011 Interns, participants from the FWEN project and the Center Director who provided an overview of TYO’s programming and activities. The group also enjoyed a hearty Palestinian meal prepared by FWEN participant Nehaya.

FWEN Video: Nehaya Shares Her Training Experience in Cairo

FWEN Participant Nehaya received an enormous opportunity when she was selected to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women “Women Entrepreneurs and Leadership” Certificate Program at the American University of Cairo. Along with other female entrepreneurs from Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine, Nehaya participated in this five-week training program to gain in-depth knowledge in operations management, finance, and human resources, among many other topics. Watch this video to hear Nehaya talk about her favorite parts of the 10,000 Women training and what she gained from the experience.

The Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program is co-sponsored by Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, with support from the Small Enterprise Center in Ramallah.

FWEN Video: Aya Presents Her Business Plan

FWEN participant Aya plans to become the first woman in Palestine to own her own sheep farm. She is full of ambition and has been hard at work on her business plan during the past year, gaining experience and confidence from the FWEN training sessions. Watch the video below for a chance to hear Aya speak about her business and her dreams for the future.

The Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program is co-sponsored by Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, with support from the Small Enterprise Center in Ramallah.

FWEN Video: Yasmeen Discusses Her Successful Business

FWEN participant Yasmeen is not waiting for the end of training to put her business expertise to work — she has already been running a successful and profitable clothing shop in her home village for several months. Watch the video below for a chance to see Yasmeen at work and learn more about the social impact of owning a business for her and her family.

The Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program is co-sponsored by Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, with support from the Small Enterprise Center in Ramallah.

FWEN Wraps Up Successful Year with Retreat in Ramallah

The Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program brought a successful year of training, mentorship, and business creation to a close with a retreat at the Movenpick Hotel in Ramallah from Thursday, December 9, to Saturday, December 11. The 12 women participating in the second phase of the FWEN program benefited from a weekend together to brainstorm and evaluate their progress, as well as to take part in several informative workshops.

On Thursday evening, Sandra Khoury spoke about how working women can strike a successful balance between professional and family responsibilities. Mrs. Khoury is General Manager at Pharmacare PLC and has significant experience with women’s and youth development programs in Palestine.

Sandra Khoury chats with FWEN participants after her talk

On Friday, Esperanza Tilghman, Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, led a workshop on public speaking and presentation skills, and continued an informative question-and-answer session with the FWEN women over lunch.

Esperanza Tilghman demonstrates effective presentation skills

Throughout the retreat, TYO staff members Suhad Jabi, Psychosocial and Program Specialist, and Fatima Irshaid, FWEN Project Manager, led a number of sessions allowing the women to address personal growth and evaluate their progress in the program thus far. Suhad emphasized interpersonal skills and healthy ways of addressing emotions such as fear and anger. During the final program evaluation, the women highlighted new skills they had learned through the FWEN trainings, including time management, problem-solving, self-confidence, self-expression, and professional communication.

Finally, the chance to leave Nablus for a weekend had some additional benefits for these budding female entrepreneurs. Project Manager Fatima Irshaid says that for many of the women, the retreat was the first time they had been in a hotel and it was an exciting new experience for them. The women took advantage of the luxury and privacy of the hotel to relax and get comfortable; they changed out of their formal clothing and finished up the retreat in their pajamas. Fatima observed that in addition to learning new skills during the retreat, the participants were “living something new.” She noted that over the course of the FWEN program, many of the women have changed their opinions on what constitutes appropriate behavior for females in Palestinian society. This newly acquired courage and openness can only help them to succeed in the future as entrepreneurs.

Fabric Shopping with Heba and Hana

As the American intern working this semester to improve media outreach for the Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program, I have jumped at every opportunity to get to know the budding businesswomen in this program and learn more about their projects. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to go fabric shopping in downtown Nablus with Heba and Hana, the entrepreneurs behind “H2 Fashion.”

Heba & Hana downtown

Heba & Hana in downtown Nablus

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FWEN Profile: Nehaya

Name: Nehaya
Age: 25 years old
Location: Nablus
Business Plan: Traditional Palestinian Cuisine Restaurant

How did you decide to participate in FWEN? What have you gained from the program?

As a student at An-Najah University (she graduated in 2007 with a degree in biotechnology), Nehaya noticed a problem that is universal to students around the world: Because they live far away from their families while at school, many students miss home-cooked meals and crave “comfort food.” Although there are some fast-food restaurants offering delivery on campus, there is no way for students to get the traditional Palestinian dishes their mothers would have made them at home. Continue reading

FWEN Profile: Hayfa & Ayat

Name: Hayfa and Ayat
Age: 24 years old
Location: Balata refugee camp
Business Plan: Recycling Plant

How did you decide to participate in FWEN? What have you gained from the program?

When Hayfa and Ayat, two friends from Balata refugee camp, saw an advertisement for FWEN online, they knew it was the perfect opportunity for them to make their dream a reality. They had both graduated from An-Najah University in 2009 with degrees in chemical engineering, and their graduation project on recycling had won a scientific award from the Arab American University in Jenin. Hayfa and Ayat knew that they wanted to take the ideas from their award-winning project and turn it into a profitable and innovative business: to create the first recycling plant in Palestine. Continue reading

FWEN Profile: Rose

Name: Rose
Age: 25 years old
Location: Askar refugee camp
Business Plan: Hairdresser’s Salon

How did you decide to participate in FWEN? What have you gained from the program?

Rose graduated from An-Najah University in 2008 with a degree in social science, but was never able to find a job related to her degree. She was taking a computer class at a local community center when she saw an advertisement for the FWEN program online. She had already worked for nine years in her family’s informal hairdresser business run out of their home (first assisting her aunt, then taking over the business five years ago), and she had always wished that someone could help her to open a formal hairdresser’s salon. When she saw the advertisement for FWEN, she knew this was her opportunity. Later, when she received a call after her interview to say she’d been accepted to the FWEN program, she was so happy she was jumping for joy. She promised herself that once she did the training, she wouldn’t be stopped; even if she didn’t receive funding, she would still have made important connections and gained valuable skills. Continue reading

FWEN Profile: Rima & Afnan

Name: Rima and Afnan
Age: 26 years old and 28 years old
Location: Beit Tiba village, outside of Nablus
Business Plan: Coffee Roaster

How did you decide to participate in FWEN? What have you gained from the program?

Graduating together from Al-Quds Open University in 2009 with a degree in social science, these two sisters already had the idea to start their own business. When they saw an advertisement for the FWEN program at the An-Najah career office, they decided to apply. Their brother works as a coffee roaster in Nablus, which gave them the idea for their own business. But they wanted to add a unique twist: in addition to the plain coffee flavor that is available in the markets of Nablus, they wanted to produce flavored coffee like they had seen online. Continue reading

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