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Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs

by Tomorrow's Youth Organization
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Support 20 Female Entrepreneurs
Rana gives an interview about her business.
Rana gives an interview about her business.

My name is Rana and I have always been dreaming of becoming a successful, independent business woman. I keep working on myself to increase my future opportunities. I have earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Birzeit University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from An-Najah University in Palestine.

Technology is my passion, and I believe that through technology we can always find the answer and the solution. Here in Palestine, we should think and work hard to make our dreams come true.

My idea is developing a website that connects medical staff with people who need healthcare. Deciding which doctor to visit and consult is a struggle and booking an appointment is even harder. I came up with the idea because I have a friend who had a baby with a skin problem. She went to a dermatologist and her skin problem got worse, until someone told her to go to a pediatrician. The pediatrician helped her and her baby was healthy again. After that, I realized that technology could be the solution.

My struggle started when I noticed that I have the knowledge of how to create such a website, but I do not know how to convert my idea into a real business, and I didn’t know from where to start! I knew that TYO is conducting a program for entrepreneurs, so I decided to participate and go for my dream.

I took all the training, which really helped me in answering a lot of questions that were on my mind. It was really the first step to starting my own business. It established a great foundation for me in the transition from an employee to a founder of a start-up. All the topics that were discussed during the program were comprehensive of every type of role, issue, opportunity and a challenge that a leader would face in a firm.

Fortunately, with hard work and commitment to my dream, I won $3,000 financial support at the end of the program. The money allowed me to start my project and develop a landing page, design my own logo, and buy needed equipment.

My project is still in its beginnings and I will keep dreaming until I have my own well-known website around the world. Success for me is my own business.

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Work, pastries, and coffee at Bait Al Dyafa
Work, pastries, and coffee at Bait Al Dyafa

“I didn’t have anyone by my side. I didn’t have enough money to enrol my kids in university. I never had emotional support to overcome challenging moments in life. I felt like I was letting my children down. But now, all of that has changed.” 

Maysoon struggled to make ends meet, being the sole economic provider for her seven children. In order to protect her children from a deteriorating quality of life, she was determined not to let this be a defining struggle. 

In the winter of 2018, she rented a small property in the old city of Nablus with the hope of turning it into a café. Her dream was to operate her own business and earn a stable income. When she rented the property, she realised it needed renovating since the doors and the windows were broken, the floor was unstable and there was no handrail for the stairs. Her goal was to work from home, selling pastries and sweets until she had enough money to buy kitchen supplies and hire professionals to renovate the café. 

“How was I supposed to support my 7 children?”

Maysoon understood the risk that renting this property conveyed for her and her family. In the summer of 2019, she realised that she was still very far away from achieving her goal. Maysoon was struggling to come to terms with being unable to register her daughter in university due to the tuition costs. She got in touch with Yusra Sama’neh, the case manager at TYO, to take part in the Mental Health Program. 

This is something that’s often neglected in Palestine- the need for access to mental health services. Lone parents with unstable incomes and a large family are often in desperate need of emotional support. However, due to misconceptions regarding the nature of mental health disorders, seeking professional help is uncommon. Maysoon was brave enough to ask for help.

“I realised I needed psychological support. I was positive I could make it but it would take me 2 to 3 years to open the café. How was I supposed to support my seven children until I managed to open the café and start making a profit?” Maysoon said. 

Also weighing on Maysoon’s mind was the fact that she did not want to resort to other people for help. However, the situation she found herself in gave her no other option. Maysoon was not aware of TYO’s entrepreneurship initiatives and solely asked for psychological support. Consequently, Amal, a social worker at TYO, visited Maysoon and began carrying out regular counselling sessions with her and her family. Yusra visited the café and realised the potential this business had. 

“Maysoon was determined to make this project come true. It takes courage to take the leap but she did it anyway.” Yusra explained. “I believe in giving women the resources they need to stand on their own and become economically independent. Thus, I did everything in my hands to make her dream become a reality.”

In July 2019, Yusra registered Maysoon to receive entrepreneurship advice and training  from TYO in order to support the start of her business. With the assistance of the Social Development Ministry and UNRWA, TYO’s contracted engineers completely renovated Maysoon’s café in the space of one month. The priority was given to fixing the doors and windows due to security concerns. Consequently, the floor was fixed and countertops and cabinets were provided for the kitchen area. The Social Development Ministry then provided Maysoon with kitchen supplies, along with a freezer and a dough machine. 

“These are tears of happiness, tears of appreciation.”

The opening of the café took place on the 26 of August 2019, two years before what had been scheduled initially. For the past three months, Maysoon has been working in her café from 6am to 5pm- cooking pastries, preparing the upstairs area for customers and making home deliveries. All her hard work has paid off and she has managed to make enough profit to enrol her daughter in university, something she had not been able to do during the summer. 

“These are tears of happiness, tears of appreciation since I can’t actually express how grateful I feel towards Yusra and TYO,” she said, “I no longer need to ask my neighbour for money. I am solely dependent on myself and I am constantly moving forward.” 

Maysoon is currently aiming to expand her family business in two ways. Firstly, she wishes to hire employees outside her family, thus improving the economic situation of other families in her community. Secondly, she aspires to make enough money to buy an electric bike so her son can make food deliveries in an environmentally friendly manner. 

“I am so thankful to Yusra for coming into my world and telling me- I am with you, you’re not alone,” Maysoon explains. “No one has ever supported me like Yusra, she was like a waterfall, streaming with so much giving.” 

Maysoon has proven to be an incredibly brave, independent woman who was not afraid to face the risks and follow her dream. She was also capable of asking for psychological support, contributing to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health in Palestine. Maysoon has become a role model for her kids and other women in her community.

“It’s only been three months since we opened the café but my life has changed for the better. My children are in university, I can pay the bills, and most importantly, my kids look up to me, they’re proud of me. I will be forever grateful.” 

Maysoon’s café is called the `House of Hospitality´(in Arabic: Bait Al Dyafa). This is the upstairs area where students can study for their exams, have a coffee or order a delicious piece of cake. 

Maysoon is incredibly media savvy and promotes her café through Facebook and Instagram.

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Reham & Saja take part in an exhibition.
Reham & Saja take part in an exhibition.

We are Riham and Saja and we are partners in our project called Smart Shirt for Autistic Patients. We developed our business during TYO’s Youth Rehabilitation Through Entrepreneurship Program (YREP).

The Smart Shirt for Autistic Patients is an interactive electronic shirt designed to monitor an autistic child’s condition and movements. Parents or guardians receive an alert when the child is exposed to any external harm through a headset connected to the shirt. This gives the parents a chance to help their child if there is a problem, but also gives their children a critical sense of independence. The shirt uses vibration and music to relieve tension and provide psychological treatment for children. It is possible to record several different sounds and music on the shirt so that it is specialized to help them learn, develop their mind, and encourage participation in dialogue with others. The beneficiaries of this project are autistic patients and their families, but we sell the product to autism centers, associations, and hospitals that have sections for autistic patients.

We first learned about YREP through social networking sites. We underwent all the training phases and sessions in order to gain all the information and experience we needed. The training included many practical terms to help us build our project fully and smoothly. We completed the training with a professional marketing plan and a detailed financial budget that we can present to anyone without hesitation.

The final phase of the program was the mentorship phase. Meeting an inspiring doctor who specializes in autism helped us answer many questions related to medical information. this enabled us to develop our project better by linking information with technology. At the end of the program we received a $1,000 financial grant. This money allowed us to develop our project electronically. We were able to buy modern and sophisticated electronics that helped us build the project in a competitive commercial way in the Palestinian medical and electronic market.

We have been working on the project for two years now, but the first year was before we joined the program. We can say that our project was following a completely different course in the first year from the one we are now following after the entrepreneurship program. Now that we have our own business plan and we can develop it regularly, we can create pilot projects fully and deal with any confrontations and difficulties. This program made us a completely different professional person. We feel very proud of ourselves after completing all the program phases and applying it all on our project. We have been trying to have funding from the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence for a long time, but we couldn’t have it. After finishing the program, we provided them with our detailed business, financial, and marketing plan. Finally, they accepted us and we are now in the process of having the fund. Today, we are still working on this project in various ways to reach its successful final image. We are not far from the final version of our shirt and we proudly say that this is thanks  the entrepreneurship program implemented by TYO.

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Alaa and Rawan during TYO trainings
Alaa and Rawan during TYO trainings

Our names are Alaa Omar and Rawan Rawajbi and we are business partners. We heard about the Youth Rehabilitation Through Entrepreneurship Program (YREP) through the announcement that was made on TYO’s Facebook page. We benefited a lot from the trainings by learning how to create a business plan from A to Z. We also learned the importance of market study, SWOT analysis, and second market research. We were able to identify the vision and mission of our business.

In addition, we realized how to determine a budget and profit margin ratio for our business. We now have a strong ground and greater confidence in our business and products after completing the required analysis for them, the market, targeted customers, and all its different aspects.  We are happy to say that we were able to establish a clear-cut 3-year business plan.

We have a business where we create handmade Palestinian embroidery products. We insert the Palestinian embroidery on modern clothes and accessories in currently trendy colors. Basically, we combine tradition with modern-day taste. We sell our products by participating in exhibitions that are held in different cities in the West Bank. In addition, we use our Facebook and Instagram pages to sell online. Our products are sold mostly to women of any age from 10 to 60 years old.

We benefited from the program through understanding where we are in the market and where we want to reach. We identified our ambitions and the needed steps to achieve our goals and vision. We realized the risks that we should avoid and the ones we should accumulate in our favor in order to achieve business progress and success. We used the award money that we won at the end of the program for two main purposes: We bought an advanced sewing machine that is very necessary for our business and we participated in a training to improve our sewing and embroidery skills and techniques.

By doing so, we were able to expand and add new products to our business. We will always be grateful to QFFD and TYO for their constant trust and belief in us throughout this journey.


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Ruba presents her business idea to the class!
Ruba presents her business idea to the class!

Through the reports on GlobalGiving, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization keeps our supporters updated about what happens with the donations we receive. This is possible because of one basic tool that we share, so obvious and omnipresent that it might have become invisible: the English language. In an age of globalization, the importance of a common language that transcends borders is undeniable. English enables the communication that has created the global markets that built our modern world.

Aware of the importance English in the world of business and communication, the ambitious participants of TYO’s Entrepreneurship Program took part in a four-week Business English course between February and March 2019.

That in business there is no way around English is evidenced by the fact that the entrepreneurs had already come across many English terms during the preceding nine weeks of business courses in which they developed their business plans. Strategic framework, opportunity analysis, driving force - some of the entrepreneurs were familiar with the terminology, while others were completely new to it. Because of the varying levels, TYO decided to offer a beginner and an advanced level Business English class.

While the beginner level focused on giving participants the vocabulary and confidence to introduce themselves and their business idea in English, the advanced course implemented activities that aimed to also develop public speaking and critical thinking skills. Instructors pushed and encouraged participants to hold unscripted conversations, which challenged them to think quickly about relaying information in a concise manner. In addition, regular feedback on writing exercises was an important aspect of the course, as pre-assessments had shown that many participants struggled with writing clearly and without mistakes.

Many participants expressed enjoyment in activities that allowed them to be creative. One example of this was describing hypothetical ‘silly business ideas’ that would never work in the Palestinian context. The participants were then asked to swap their idea with someone else and pitch the other’s idea to the group. This activity worked on developing participants’ public speaking and persuasive communication skills, as well as their poker faces!

After the course had come to an end, post-assessments showed that almost all participants had made significant progress. Interestingly, whereas writing had previously been the weakest spot for many, this was now the area with the highest scores. The overall average scores went up from about 55% to an incredible 75%. We are so proud of our entrepreneurs!

Participants reported that they were more confident in speaking English after taking the course at TYO. One entrepreneur described that she had always felt that there was a wall between her and the language, which had now started to break down. TYO is so happy to be able to contribute to taking away obstacles to education and help fight unemployment. Knowledge of English can itself break down walls, build bridges, and open doors - to the world and to a bright future.

Full concentration mode while reading an article!
Full concentration mode while reading an article!
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Organization Information

Tomorrow's Youth Organization

Location: McLean, VA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tomorrowsyouth
Project Leader:
Suhad Jabi
Director, Tomorrow's Youth Organization
McLean, VA United States

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