Traditional Embroidery with a Twist
The Nawaya Network, under UNICEF's Generation of Innovation Leaders program, works with underprivileged youth by providing them with entrepreneurship training. Since the launch of the program in 2016, we have trained over 5,000 youth, who in turn have launched over 700 micro-business across Beirut, Mount Lebanon and the South.
As part of our Alumni Support program, and following the launch of their micro-enterprises, we offer youth further assistance by linking them to mentors in their areas, particulrly rural and remote areas we operate in.
While mentors abound in the capital, Beirut, we are keen on building our network to encompass the South and Mount Lebanon.
If you are interested, please make sure to sign up here, or share this bulletin with someone who might be interested in volunteering with us.
Meanwhile, we leave you with Ghadir's story on how she turned her love for arts and crafts into an income-generating business, and how mentorship helped her get there!
For 25-year-old Ghadir from Nabatieh, her involvement with the UNICEF Lebanon-supported Generation of Innovation Leaders (GIL) programme has led her on a new path in life. Part of a continuing series of GIL workshops organised by Injaz Lebanon and The Nawaya Network, July’s Jawaez GIL event gave participants the opportunity to huddle with mentors, network with peers, and pitch their project and funding needs to a jury. Ghadir takes up her story:
“I’ve always been drawn to art, and I’m well-known for sketching friends, family and the world around me. However, I never imagined it could become a business, nor that it could become my life.
I studied interior design at the Lebanese University in Saida, and now I’m following that with a course on psychology. Throughout this period, I’ve continued to draw. One friend suggested I add needlework to my sketches, and embroider the images I created. I was intrigued, so I learned the technique by watching hours of tutorials on YouTube and, having mastered the skill, I’ve sold more than 100 of my works across Lebanon.
Everything was going really well, so I established a business – ‘Craft & Art’ - but I soon realised that my skills in running a business were limited and this was restricting my opportunity to grow. To be a successful artist, I needed to learn some key commercial skills too.
I heard about the GIL programme, and realised it was created to help people just like me.
Before I joined the programme I didn’t know anything about planning for growth, or creating a business plan, or how to run an efficient enterprise. Here, supported by GIL mentors, I developed my first business plan and I learned about profit and loss accounting. I became a real business! I still do everything myself, I know I need to delegate some tasks – that’s one thing I’ve learned here through GIL - but I need to find the right people for this.
When I joined my first workshop I was operating on a very small level, so I was delighted to receive an initial seed funding award of $400 through GIL. With this, I bought more materials, sold more works, and used the profit to reinvest directly in buying even more materials.
GIL was indeed the perfect place for me to come to improve my commercial skills and scale my business.
I tell my friends about the help GIL has given me, and I’ve shared information with them about upcoming sessions. Now they too understand that even if they have only a small idea, GIL and its mentors can help it grow”.
Total commitment to her business and her future has been a constant thread throughout Ghadir’s time within the GIL programme. As we met her at the end of July’s Jawaez workshop, she confided in us that her own wedding was just four days away, but, she said, “there’s no way I was going to miss this. Even if I didn’t win another award of funding, I knew I would come away with so much more knowledge! And I did – plus additional funding too!”