TYO and TYO Lebanon are honored to participate in the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s new Enterprise Development Programme Launch in November of this year! As our WEL program has shown so much progress, WEL beneficiary Ms. Houwayda Charaf el Dine was also invited to give a 5-minute presentation on her experiences with the WEL project. Mrs. Cherie Blair will also be speaking at the event.
We are so proud of Houwayda and wanted to share her story with you, again. See below our past interview with Ms. Houwayda Charaf El Dine!
What is your personal background?
My name is Houwayda Charaf El Dine and I live with my family in a small village called Berkayel in Akkar. I have a B.A in French Literature and I work as a teacher in one of the schools in Akkar.
What is your business idea?
Before talking about my dream I need to clarify some of the issues. There is an urgent need in the rural areas in Akkar for development in different sectors, and this need is directly related to the absence of the government due to many pressures and other concerned national issues. We see that a lot of women in these areas did not complete their education and they stay at home, with no work.
Thus, doing projects in the region will reduce many of the problems faced by these villages and will create jobs for both women and men. Consequently,
Why should you continue to invest in women?
Because of their sheer numbers, empowering female entrepreneurs represents a huge boost to local economies. Furthermore, women are statistically more likely to re-invest more of their incomes-almost 90%! This means that by investing in women entrepreneurs, you are not only improving the economy but doing so in a way that has serious impact on families and communities. Investing in women is also beneficial from a social development standpoint- our programs help those who are doubly marginalized because of their gender and social status to become active, empowered community members.
TYO Lebanon is in the middle of a new session more committed than ever to helping the women of Lebanon overcome the challenges they face to take control of their lives. The Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon (WEL) program is back on track, and our ladies are now focusing on the incubation, corporate branding, and access to finance aspects of their business plans.
TYO is always striving to meet the needs of the women in our WEL program, so after they expressed the desire for stronger IT skills to be able to compete in the business world, we set about helping them attain those skills. With the help of Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) and your support, the WEL women have just completed a six week intensive computer course. The emphasis of the course was basic computer tasks as well as more targeted application, such as keeping business records. These lucky ladies also had some side benefits to their training, including personal awareness, a more honed sense of entrepreneurship, and marketable 21st century work skills. They now have the skills they need to compete in the workforce, giving their families and communities a boost in the process. Our women already have the intelligence, skills, and motivation to do amazing things; they simply lack the resources. By continuing your support, you help us to provide them with these essential resources and give these enterprising women the opportunity they need to change their lives.
We couldn’t do it without you!
Want to make a mother smile this spring? Make a mother's day on Mother's Day with your $50 contribution towards business training workshops for women entrepreneurs in Lebanon. With your generous donation, you will receive a note card set of five cards featuring gorgeous watercolor scenes from historic Jerusalem!
This has certainly been an exciting spring for the women of TYO’s WEL program! Over the past few weeks, a number of noteworthy visits have taken place, motivating our budding entrepreneurs and giving them their much-deserved moment in the limelight.
“You are proving that glass ceilings are breakable…Lebanon would be more prosperous and stable with more women in the boardrooms and cabinet rooms… I believe you will be the people to prove it.”
– H.E. British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher
FEBRUARY 2012:Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
Closing out the month of love, WEL program stakeholders from the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women showed the WEL participants some love with a visit to WEL’s Beirut offices at the end of February. CBFW Business Support Programme Coordinator Priya Patel and Business Support Programme Manager Lucy Hayter had the chance to meet with program participants Ms. Rima al Rachid, Ms. Soumaya Jokmak and Ms. Houwayda Sharaf el Dine. (If you remember, Ms. Rachid is hard at work laying the groundwork for her Tiling Manufacturing Company; Ms. Jokmak is still wowing with her cavities for a cause (delectable traditional desserts!); and Ms. Sharaf al Dine is feeding hungry Lebanese families with her mouth-watering catering business.) A special visit by His Excellency Mexican Ambassador Jorge Alvarez, an avid WEL supporter, rounded off the three-day tour fantastically!
MARCH 2012: H.E. Ambassador Tom Fletcher
Wrapping up March on the heels of International Women’s Day, WEL participants received a special treat as the honored guests of His Excellency British Ambassador Tom Fletcher at his home in Beirut. Ambassador Fletcher played host to a select group of accomplished women in business, education, media, sports, and arts in Lebanon, including prominent journalist and EU Ambassador May Chidiac, actress, comedian, and drama therapist Zeina Dakache, and Olympic sports star Andria Paouli; WEL participants were overjoyed to have been selected amongst this celebrated group of high-achievers.
APRIL 2012: Columbia University's Pangea Advisors
Earlier this month, Mallika Daswani, Eric Kuo, and Eric Amaso, representatives of the Pangea Advisors group from Columbia University’s Business School spent time on the ground in Lebanon investigating strategies to enhance online platforms for digital marketing and awareness-building. The Pangea team encountered the warmth of Lebanese hospitality, the savory palatability of Lebanese cuisine courtesy of WEL entrepreneurs, and the frustrations of the Lebanese financial system as they learned about measures blocking interest rates in Lebanon. An insightful, impactful, and inspiring visit for all!
“Entrepreneurs in the region are met with uncommon challenges, but these challenges are clearly compounded for aspiring women entrepreneurs. TYO has developed creative solutions in order to overcome these hurdles, which can have a significant impact not only for women entrepreneurs but for the entire region as a whole.”
– Eric Amaso, Columbia Business School, MBA Candidate, Class of 2013
With a parade of new faces taking note of the ambitious women of WEL, we hope that you too might take note of the incredible work these women are doing to reverse the “brain drain” of successful entrepreneurship in Lebanon. This year, you can make a mother’s day on Mother’s Day by supporting TYO and the women of WEL. Donations of $50 or above receive a note card set of five cards featuring gorgeous watercolor scenes from historic Jerusalem!
Your continued support is tremendously appreciated. Stay tuned to more updates on TYO's blog!
Tomorrow’s Youth Organization celebrates International Women’s Day and GlobalGiving’s first Bonus Day of 2012 with the Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon program!
On Wednesday March 14th, 2012, GlobalGiving will match one donation per donor at 30% on behalf of GlobalGiving and an exponential sum on behalf of the wonderful donors that contribute to GlobalGiving projects!
What does that mean? For every donation a TYO donor makes to support women entrepreneurs in Lebanon, GlobalGiving will match nearly a third of that donation directly to TYO’s campaign! So if you give $100 or $1,000 today, you could make a $130 or $1,300 net impact on aspiring women entrepreneurs in Lebanon!
Last year, this initiative raised over $800,000 for GlobalGiving partners like TYO and we hope you can contribute to make this campaign a smashing success just in time to celebrate International Women’s Day for the month of March!
International Women’s Day (March 8, 2012), was established in the early 1900s to rally supporters for various women’s causes through the ages—from the suffrage movement to women’s health to equality in wages and employment. This year in honor of International Women’s Day, empower women entrepreneurs to blaze their own trails in Lebanese history with business plans, schemas, and strategies to improve and influence positive change in their communities!
IN LEBANON!The women have been hard at work in their Spring courses thus far, advancing in Business English, Basic Computer Literacy, and Advanced Accounting alongside an incubation period with our partners at the Business Incubation Association (BIAT) facility in Beirut. TYO and the WEL program coordinators are currently preparing them for their upcoming training and finance plan strategy sessions with Kafalat, a local Lebanese institution known for subsidized loan assistance. Additional support is being provided in trainings for quality control of goods, technical support, access to the Souk el Tayeb Distribution network, access to markets for the sale of their goods, and mentorship. Earlier this month, TYO eagerly welcomed the team from the Cherie Blair Foundation, one of our strongest supporters of the WEL Program, to introduce our entrepreneurs and to initiate brainstorming sessions on challenges of the past few months and strides to move forward. His Excellency Mexican Ambassador Jorge Alvarez joined the event as a keen project supporter and contributing voice to the efforts of the WEL program and the Blair team.
CRUNCHING NUMBERS!As we surge forward, crunching numbers with the women for impending financial planning, we hope you might be able to crunch numbers in TYO’s favor and make a contribution, however large or small, on GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day, March 14, 2012. The earliest donations stand the greatest chance of impact, so start your morning off right and give a little to change a lot for the women entrepreneurs of Lebanon! TYO thanks you in advance for your continued support!
"My only ambition in life is to be self-confident. I am working hard on my skills, particularly to enhance both my communication and marketing abilities. I used to decorate for people from different villages on different occasions and this experience encouraged me to start thinking of having green houses to plant different kinds of flowers." - Ms. Halimeh Al Chaar, WEL Empower 20 participant
This year instead of a traditional Valentine's Day, GlobalGiving embraces the celebration of Global Generosity Day! That means, "in addition to (or instead of?) the heart-shaped box of chocolates and pricey romantic dinner, give the gift of a not-so-random act of kindness!" Make your Valentine a Lebanese woman in need by donating to TYO's Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon project! These lovely ladies don't need chocolates or plush teddy bears, but they do need your support as they strive to improve their communities with a leadership business endeavor.
Therefore, this month, TYO would like to highlight some of the most promising women entrepreneurs in our Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon project. Thanks to your fantastic support these women will prepare to advance into Phase 3 of the training program! Phase 3 includes additional trainings in Business English, IT, and an incubation period to cultivate smart, fiscally-sound financial strategies. Therefore, without further adieu, we are proud to introduce TYO's WEL TOP TEN ENTREPRENEURS...
"Since I was young, I have enjoyed preparing food. I have bought [cook]books in Arabic and French, about old and new recipes. In addition, my deep knowledge in hygiene and nutrition issues as well as participating in several trainings on food processing were the key factors in doing a catering project with special packaging in order to distribute the product to supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, hospitals and related institutions." - Ms. Howayda Sharaf al Dine, WEL Top 10 participant
These ten women are just a sample of the ambitious and exciting projects being supported by the Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon project. As you can see, these women are eager for success and relish every moment they are able to spend improving their skills and widening the path to greater economic security and community development with WEL. Thank you for your support! We look forward to charting their progress and cheering them on as they complete their training and sincerely hope you will continue to show your support at this crucial juncture on their paths to success! For more details on the happenings in the TYO WEL project, be sure to take a peek at the TYO Blog where we chronicle the women’s journeys!
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