Near East Foundation (NEF)

Founded in 1915, the Near East Foundation's mission is to help build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities in the Middle East and Africa through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. NEF is an operational NGO with projects in seven countries -- Armenia, Egypt, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, Palestine, and Sudan -- where we work to directly improve the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable people through programs in Peacebuilding, Civic Engagement and Education, Sustainable Agriculture, and Business Development. In the field, approximately 50 NEF staff members-all of them from the countries in which they work-partner with local organizations to find homeg...
May 13, 2014

50 Women Start New Businesses in the West Bank

Khadija
Khadija's clothing shop.
Khadija's clothing shop is one of only two in her village in the West Bank. The addition of alteration services -- with a startup grant from the Near East Foundation -- has given her a competetive advantage in the market.

With support from the Near East Foundation (NEF), made possible in part by your generous support, women like Khadija have started 50 new businesses in the West Bank – creating 103 new jobs

NEF provides women with training in microenterprise development, supports them in the development of professional business plans, and helps the participating women to secure funding for their new projects.  Women have created exciting and unique new businesses – clothes shops, organic food stores, mushroom agribusinesses, and beekeeping operations among others.  These businesses are helping the women and their families achieve financial independence.

Khadija, a single mother, has expanded her clothes shop to include sewing machines so that she can make alterations for her customers.

Her village of Haris, in the West Bank, only had one clothing store.  Whe she overheard people in her community talk about the need for variety, Khadija responded by raising the capital for a new clothing business with her brother. But she soon saw an opportunity to expand. 

“I noticed most of the women who come to buy from my shop also need their clothes altered,” she said. “I realized that a sewing machine would give me a competitive advantage in the market.”

Khadija participated in NEF’s program – creating a business plan to grow her business and successfully securing a start-up grant for expansion.

“Having your own business is not only about money,” she says. “It is also about achieving your social, psychological, and financial independence. My business makes me feel that I’m an active and useful person in this community.”

THANK YOU for your ongoing support and for helping women like Khadija to star new businesses that help their families achieve financial independence and benefit their community.

Apr 11, 2014

The Difference that Encouragement and a Small Grant Can Make

Alis has opened a manicure business.
Alis has opened a manicure business.

Another survivor of domestic violence in Armenia has become a successful businesswoman thanks to your generous support.  Alis now has a thriving nail-art business. She is earning up to US$350 per month doing something she loves.

From an early age, Alis was interested in arts and crafts.  She later became fascinated with manicuring and nail art – she found it to be a useful outlet for expressing her emotions. Unfortunately, the turmoil in her life prevented her from even thinking about getting any formal technical training, let alone starting her own business.

Alis was grateful to find the help she needed from the Women’s Support Center – where women needing to escape violent relationships can access counseling and shelter services. The Near East Foundation (NEF) is partnering with the Center to help 50 of their visitors gain financial independence through either job readiness or business training and start-up support.

The NEF project was the perfect opportunity for Alis. She took part in a business training workshop and became determined to build a small business of her own. The project paid the fees for a nail care and design course so she could perfect her technical skills. Impressed with her enthusiasm and dedication, project staff then provided Alis with seed money to purchase basic equipment to get her business started.

“If it weren’t for this program, for the encouragement and the financial support I would never have taken the risk of starting a business on my own. I hope many other women have this opportunity in the future.”

Ten more women have just started the next business training course and Alis is helping these survivors to see that it is possible to start a new life.

* Due to the sensitive nature of this program, we are unable to use real names or show pictures of beneficiaries. But we are able to show off Alis’s work in the above photo.

Alis
Alis' creative nail art.
Alis
Alis' art attracts new customers.
Apr 10, 2014

Monthly Income Rises by 700 SDG!

In the first few months of 2014, Sudanese farmers who participated in trainings made possible by your generous support increased their average income from 200 SDG to 900 SDG per month – that is nearly $120 per month!

This amount is substantial for vulnerable families in this impoverished region of Sudan.  

The Near East Foundation conducted the training in Um Rawaba where farmers learned successful strategies in gum arabic farming techniques and gained access to microfinance.  The skills farmers gained at this workshop have translated into increased gum arabic production – and contributed to the increases in household income.

Huda, a gum arabic farmer and mother of 9 in North Kordofan, learned through the training session how her techniques were actually inadvertently damaging her production and destroying the crop on which her livelihood depends.

“Before taking part in the training workshops, I had little idea of best practices for cultivating and collecting gum arabic from the local Acacia woodlands,” Huda said.  “Without much consideration for the trees, we used them for many things: charcoal production, firewood, and gum arabic.”

Thanks to your support, Huda and other farmers like her are actually increasing their income while helping to preserve the Acacia tree. 

“The workshops taught me the how to harvest gum arabic in a way that actually stimulates tree growth,” Huda said. “It has also shown me how to manage loans and revenue.”

NEF has pioneered innovative solutions to economic development challenges impacting communities throughout the Sudan for over three decades. With your generous support, we can continue helping farmers like Huda Muhammad to build a more prosperous and sustainable future.

Thank you for your ongoing support - it is vital to vulnerable gum arabic farmers and their families in Sudan!

 

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