"The most important thing for us at the Cooperative was to empower local women to carry out their own projects."
Sahar Al Salmane, 34, is from Al Ramtha district in Northern Jordan. In 2012, she set up a Women Cooperative Society to provide both local and Syrian refugee women with much needed job opportunities.
“At first, we gave training workshops. Both Syrian and Jordanian women participated. Swapping experiences was very useful for us,” she describes.
Through EU funding, the cooperative expanded and now offers additional services, like a pickle factory and green houses. Many uneducated women in the area saw this as a unique opportunity to make a living and become more independent.
Sahar also helps each woman with project management and market study, based on specific needs. She teaches them how work and self-reliance combined are the only way out of economic hardship:
“I wouldn’t give them money. No, I wouldn’t do that! I would rather give them a job and they will make money in return,” she explains with determination.
Thanks to Sahar's efforts and hard work, the Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative Society keeps growing in size and in scope. Today, it counts more than 30 members and is still expanding.
Sahar is passionate about her cause: “Joining our cooperative made a big difference in the social status of local women. That’s why I want to encourage all the local women to engage in such initiatives. It’s a very nice environment where women can realise their potential.”