Though my husband is not with me anymore, I want to continue with my own business to provide for my family. What I am most proud of and what makes me feel so happy is to contribute to improving the lives of other ladies around me, to make them feel more confident and to make their businesses better.
This year I was selected as a role model by CARE to share my life story to inspire other Jordanian women and men around me. It has been a very grateful experience to meet with so many new people, and also to meet nine other ladies just like me.
It has been truly an honor to be awarded with the responsibilities of being a role model. My voice and that of other role models has now been heard throughout many communities of Jordan. We met more than 1200 people in only a short amount of time! I noticed that many people in the communities but also followers of social media show their interest in our stories and advice. “This campaign is to change mindsets that you do not need grants in order to empower yourself, you need to change your mindset and that way change yourself”, a women said. A man said: “Men need to be sensitized and trained to support their wives to help empower women”.
It’s incredible that my humble voice is being heard by the minister of the Social Development, the Ministry of Planning, local and international organizations, businesses and that my voice has been channeled through TV and radio all over Jordan. But most important is that I feel that sharing my story really has impact when meeting other ladies in the communities. Some of the ladies in the audiences said “This is the first time I see women initiating as well as these women have. They have persevered and they have pushed through so many obstacles to get to where they’re at today. Thank you for inspiring us”. Another lady said: “What these women have done is amazing, they give other women such energy, such positivity to go out and initiate again. It’s like they’re rewiring the women in the field to become more powerful and be able to initiate. Persevere. Don’t let a man be an obstacle or an excuse as to why you don’t do something; you can always overcome obstacles.”
I also witnessed many elderly women, gatekeepers for old, traditional ideas including women’s role and the work they are allowed to do. Unexpectedly, they expressed their admiration and respect for the role models’ stories of struggle and success. Many told us that they would be encouraging their daughters and granddaughters that women’s entrepreneurship enhances women’s dignity and does not undermine it.
Many people don’t know how they can receive support, especially financial support, or even to understand what economic empowerment means. The sharing of our stories has however been truly eye-opening and inspired many of them to engage more actively in their communities and to gain financial independence. Until today I am receiving calls from ladies who want my advice on how to improve their businesses. Giving back and empowering the community and society is what truly makes me happy and enables me to impact my community.