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December 18, 2014

Palestinian Refugee Women Find Careers Through JICA Program
The entrepreneurs proactively forge their own paths after undergoing training

photoNesrien Alkalis, right, lectures at training for entrepreneurs.
photoDisplay shelf commercial goods in the house of Ferial Ghebin

JICA is working to help Palestinian refugee women to become more economically self-reliant.

“Capacity Development for Improvement of Livelihood for Palestinian Refugees Phase 2” is a project that offers vocational training for starting small businesses at home and work ethics training. It also assists refugees in finding employment in the formal economy through a job-matching service. Also, to promote women's labor participation in the community, social marketing campaigns (called Forsati campaign) and behavioral change workshops have been conducted by project staff.

Recently JICA spoke with two refugees who participated in the program's training and found new careers.

Nesrien Alkalis works as a lecturer training entrepreneurs in the areas of perfume and detergent at Hitteen camp Training and Employment Center (TEC). Actually, she is a former participant in TEC training.

After finishing attending training lectures for entrepreneurs, she was employed as a sanitation worker by the camp steering committee. She was being offered and accepting work other than sanitation work when her good work ethic was recognized and she was scouted as a trainer. Now she is working to help other refugee women who find themselves in the same position she was in.

"It seems my husband doesn't think very well of it, but my children support me, so I continue to work," she said when asked what her family thinks about her going from training participant to trainer.

Ferial Ghebin, a former participant in TEC training who lives in Jordan in the Jerash camp (commonly known as the Gaza Camp) on the outskirts of the tourist destination Jerash, famous for its ruins, has been selling cosmetics and perfume for three years.

When asked the secret of her success, she said she has a network outside the refugee camp. It has helped her to sell her products in a drugstore run by an acquaintance living in Amman and to establish her own sales channels through relatives and friends. Ghebin is an assertive self-starter, a quality necessary for training participants to be able to start their own businesses and keep going after they finish attending training lectures.

The project began in October 2013 and will end in September 2015.

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