Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day – Meet Rania

In 2017, the United Nations launched Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, to be celebrated on 27 June every year in recognition of the key role they play in developing countries, worldwide economies and sustainable development. According to the data provided by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), formal and informal Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) make up over 90% of all firms and account on average for 60-70% of total employment and 50% of GDP.

To celebrate #MSMEDay2019 we wanted to share Rania’s story.

Rania comes from Aqber Jaber Refugee Camp in the West Bank, created in 1948 when the state of Israel was established. It’s now a town in its own right, but one that still lives in the shadow of occupation. Rania has been receiving support through a joint Y Care International and YWCA Palestine project. The project has trained 38 mainly female business graduates from Bethlehem University as Young Business Coaches, who then use their skills in finance, marketing, manufacturing, and logistics to mentor local women who own their own businesses. Rania is one such business owner.

“I am 44 years old with a high school certificate but unfortunately didn’t have the chance to gain higher education at university. I am married with 6 children all in school. I have lived in the camp for many years; my husband works but struggles to provide financial support for the family. I love cooking very much and I have the skills to cook different kinds of food. I was part of the women’s centre in the camp and was active in all its activities. I am also very active at the community level, I was elected several times to be part of the board of directors in the centre.

My duties in the women centre concentrated in managing the food production unit; my technical skills in food processing and in management allowed me to be directly responsible for this project, I was also supervising a healthy food project that was targeting the students in UNRWA schools in the camp. I decided to start my own income generating project a few months after I left my position at the women’s centre. The family income before that was dependent on my husband’s salary, which is very limited and can’t cover our needs. Previously I used to support him occasionally by selling food to people on a small scale.

I bought some equipment and used others that I had in my house to start the business.My business makes Muajanat, delicious small flatbread pies made with herbs, cheese, or meat which I sell to anyone hosting a gathering of friends or family. I consider my business to be a successful one, supporting my family and providing employment and income to nine other women from our refugee
camp. I would like to grow my business to start a food factory and deliver my products to the West Bank market.

Rania and her Young Business Coach

Following the establishment of my own business, I was approached by a young women that was recruited by the YWCA, she offered me support related to the business and financial management. I instantly accepted, as my experience with the YWCA has been very valuable over the years. The young lady started to visit me on weekly basis and worked with me on different issues related to the financial management of my own business; it is three months since they started to support me, I have never had such good support before.

The coaches have promised to train me on a computerised financial system. I’ll be really happy when this happens.”

This #MSMEDay2019, you can support female business owners like Rania and her Young Business Coach through our current appeal.

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