Mane's pakhlava and gata are sold in 4 stores
After nine years of abuse and harassment by her husband, Mane never imagined that she could find the power not only to stand-up for she and her kids but also to start her own business.
But that’s exactly what happened after she went from a hospital to a women’s shelter where her life turned a corner. At the shelter, run by one of the Near East Foundation’s local partners, she learned about an initiative to help women survivors of domestic violence earn an income and become financially independent.
Mane shared her skills and love for baking with project leaders, who guided her in developing a business plan to produce cakes. Through business planning and management trainings, Mane acquired the skills she would need to be a successful entrepreneur. She also researched consumer demand in her area and learned that the products she hoped to offer were highly requested in the local market.
With start-up equipment and materials provided by NEF, Mane launched her business to great acclaim. She makes pakhlava and gata with a famous recipe from the Gavar Region for 4 different stores in Yerevan.
Mane beams when talking about her cakes and starting her own home-based business: ‘’The taste of my product is special; it is the best. This was my idea and the most important thing is that now I have business skills... Training helped me understand that I am able to work for myself and make an income for me and my children,’’ she said.
Because Mane’s cakes are so popular, more stores are requesting to sell them. Only a few weeks after launching her business, Mane is already planning to expand production volume to satisfy market demand.
This is exciting for Mane, who has used the $60 in income she earned so far to buy materials for production and still had some leftover to devote to her personal needs.
‘’Yes, now I am busy with my business and my favorite job. I like baking. This business helps me not only in getting financial sustainability and caring for my family, it also helps me forget the hard times I had to live through for so long.’’
Through her work with NEF’s entrepreneurship program, Mane is gradually recovering the energy, self-confidence, and motivation to work that she had lost during the difficult years in her abusive home. She continues to receive business mentoring from project leaders and is part of a social support network with other women survivors turned entrepreneurs.
Now she and her daughter live safely with her parents and, as her mom helps with the baking, Mane is beginning to take a leadership role in supporting her entire family.
THANK YOU for supporting this critical work to help women survivors of domestic violence in Armenia gain skills and earn an income so they can build a new life for their families!