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Vulnerable women display homemade products at Amman’s weekly Souq Nemeh

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Nov 07,2018 - Last updated at Nov 07,2018

Women selling their homemade products at Souq Nemeh, launched for the second year in a row by the UNDP as part of its Women Economic Empowerment project (Photo courtesy of the UNDP)

AMMAN — Women from across the country are carrying their homemade products to Amman to showcase at the seasonal market Souq Nemeh, which provides a safe space for women coming from unprivileged areas to display their talent and market their products to the people of Amman.

Held every Saturday at the Zaha Cultural Centre in Khalda, the market enables local women to advertise and sell products such as food, cosmetics, handicrafts, home accessories and clothing, seeking to allow the artisans’ customer base to spread from the municipalities in which they are based.

Launched for the second year in a row by the UNDP as part of its Women Economic Empowerment project, the market was developed with the aim of supporting female entrepreneurs in chasing their dreams and increasing their family household income, according to a statement recently issued by the UN agency.

“Each product sold in the souq tells the unique story of strong and entrepreneurial women coming from Tafileh, Karak, Ajloun, Mafraq, Irbid, Salt and other areas across Jordan,” UNDP officials said in the statement. 

Maha Majali, a mother who participated at the market for the first time this year with her daughter Hanade Sraiheen, has been knitting and selling her products for over 30 years. 

“After my children grew up and my husband got sick, I had to find a way to contribute to my family’s income, so I took flower arranging courses, learned how to make accessories and developed my knitting skills,” the entrepreneur recalled. 

Inspired by her mother’s work, Sraiheen decided to learn how to make accessories and homemade candles. “I do not have a college degree, so I needed to find something that can be made at home and at the same profitable,” she said.

On the sidelines of the market, the local entrepreneurs participated in sales and marketing training held in partnership with the Princess Taghrid Institute for Development and Training, where the women built their skills towards the opening of the market.  

“I come from Zarqa, where the opportunities are very limited — but after getting involved with this initiative, I was able to open my own food business and do things my way,” entrepreneur Baidasan Saadi said. 

“Now, I am planning to open my own shop in my hometown, and hopefully open other branches throughout Jordan,” Saadi added.  

“Before, I was an employee for others and I was very unhappy, as I did not have room for my own ideas, but today, I am my own boss,” entrepreneur Tahira Omoush declared, highlighting that all her products are handmade with the help of her sister. 

“I first heard about Souq Nemeh from my relatives outside of Amman, and initially, I wasn’t sure whether I could be successful,” local businesswoman Tasneem Tarifi said, recalling how after using her own talent for cooking, she created a business around healthy sweets aimed at those trying to watch their weight.

“Without the market, I would not have been able to use my talent or help others, but today, I can say that I am entirely independent in my financial life,” she celebrated. 

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