TYO’s Community Impact

Why is Usama Malik running 250 km/156 miles through the Sahara Desert?  To ensure the continued profound and positive impact of TYO on the communities it serves.  The stories of just one entrepreneur and one volunteer reveal the broad ripple effect of TYO’s programs on individuals, their families, and the community at large.

Nehaya, Restaurant Owner

Nehaya explains her restaurant to Ambassador Verveer and TYO Nablus Center Director Humaira Wakili

Take one of our FWEN program participants, Nehaya, as an example.  As a student at An-Najah University, she noticed that the students living far from their families craved home-cooked meals.  She came up with a solution–establish a restaurant to offer traditional Palestinian “comfort food,” rather than unhealthy  fast food.  The restaurant could offer take-out for students and catering for large parties and events.

Nehaya enrolled in the FWEN program, where she developed the business and leadership skills necessary to start her restaurant.  Her work with FWEN prepared her for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women project, a five-week Women’s Entrepreneurship Leadership certificate program at the American University in Cairo.

On March 26, 2011, Nehaya opened her restaurant and hired her mother and aunt as cooks.  With her restaurant, Nehaya is bringing home-cooked meals to the students of An-Najah, business opportunities to the women in her family, and inspiration to women entrepreneurs throughout Nablus.

Nehad, Volunteer and Fall Core Child Program Teacher

Nehad with a Core Child Program student

Nehad’s story provides another great example of TYO’s impact on the lives of our program participants.  She has been a volunteer with the Core Child Program for a year.  Every day that TYO is in session, Nehad leaves her village, Koforqadon, at 7 am to make the hour-long commute to our Nablus center.

Her work with the students in the Core Child Program has brought children like Ghizal out of their shells.  Moreover, Nehad reports that she herself has grown in confidence as a teacher and as an individual throughout her year with TYO.  Because of her dedication to her students and eagerness to learn, Nehad has grown into a talented early childhood teacher while volunteering at TYO.  TYO is excited to be bringing Nehad back to the Core Child Program as a teacher for the fall session.

All of TYO’s Core Child Program teachers, like Nehad, started working with TYO as volunteers.  The Youth Service Learning program includes both trainings and opportunities to cultivate hands-on teaching and mentoring experience.  As volunteers, TYO’s current core teachers cultivated a valuable set of teaching skills.  Now, TYO’s students reap the benefits of having strong, confident, talented teachers.

Help sustain and expand TYO’s community impact by getting involved in the Racing the Planet for TYO campaign!  From September 1-25, people across the globe will ADOPT, JOIN, and MOBILIZE the miles of Usama’s race.  Right now, start planning how you’ll help us raise $25k in 25 days!

Mabrouk Aya!

TYO is proud to congratulate FWEN program participant, Aya, on her successful completion of the Business Women’s Forum – Palestine‘s month long internship and training program. Aya and her fellow interns were presented certificates of completion at a ceremony this morning in Ramallah hosted by BWF staff and attended by honored guests, including: US Consul General, Daniel Rubinstein, other State Department representatives, and Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs, H.E. Rabhiya Diab.

Aya at the BWF Internship ceremony after receiving her graduation certificate

For the past year, Aya has been refining her business–Solidarity Farm–the first female-owned and organic sheep farm in Palestine. She is passionate and a truly inspiring entrepreneur who will certainly put to use the many skills honed through the BWF internship and the FWEN program. Mabrouk Aya!

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

FWEN Participants show goods at USCG Bazaar

On Thursday, May 12, 2011 FWEN participants Afnan of Coffee Roasters and Heba and Hana of H2 Fashion Design displayed their goods at a bazaar, in Jerusalem, in support of women entrepreneurs sponsored by the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem.

FWEN Participant Opens Restaurant in Nablus

Along the sidewalk of An Najah Street, FWEN Participant Nehaya in the company of family and friends, unveiled the sign to her new restaurant, “Matbakh Beit Al-Eleeyah.” While the official grand opening is set for Saturday, March 26, 2011, Nehaya took the opportunity thank all those that supported her throughout the last year, including her friend and fellow FWEN participant Sahar, who designed the new sign.

Nehaya’s restaurant will provide traditional Palestinian food to university students interested in a home-cooked meal in place of more typical student foods such as fast food. 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.” Though her participation in the FWEN project, Nehaya acquired the leadership and business skills necessary to turn her idea into a reality.

ABOUT FWEN: During the Fifth Annual Clinton Global Initiative (New York, September 2009), the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) committed to contribute to women’s economic empowerment in Nablus. The project, Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus, is now underway at the TYO Center in Nablus and at a satellite location in Lebanon.

Photo of the Day: FWEN Participants present businesses to CBFW


P1030291, originally uploaded by tyo_nablus.

On Wednesday, February 23, 2011 Jillian of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women visited Tomorrow’s Youth Organization and met with members of the TYO-CBFW collaboration Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus. Check out all the photos from the meeting on Flickr.

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.

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