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EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis

Overcoming the culture of shame and inspiring women to follow their dreams


We have overcome the culture of shame in the community by leaving our homes and going to houses that we clean with the consent of our husbands and families

When two women residing in a northern village decided to open a home dry clean project, they contributed in enhancing the lives of those around them and inspiring other women.

Ghadeer and Asmaa are two friends living in the village of Kufranjeh in the North of Jordan. Ghadeer is Jordanian and Asmaa is Syrian. These two women became inseparable ever since they met in school and they recently decided to go on a business venture together. “We became close friends at school and we have not separated since,” says Ghadeer.

The two friends enrolled in a life skills class that Asmaa heard about. The training is provided by the Business development centre (BDC) and funded by the EU, through a regional programme implemented by the EuroMed Feminist Initiative (IFE-EFI). They came up with the idea of starting their own business after witnessing their female colleagues start their own projects.

Ghadeer who is a homemaker used to struggle while cleaning her carpets as her neighbours were complaining about the cleaning water soaking their garden. She spoke to Asmaa about it and together they came up with the idea of home dry clean using a machine that cleans and dries at the same time.

When they presented their idea to the class they received a lot of encouragement from teachers and colleagues

“This was an idea that was new in Ajloun as a whole, not just in the village of Kufranjeh,” noted Ghadeer, who said that she “did not expect to be a partner in a successful project so quickly and at a young age.”

“I have become more confident in myself and in my ability to achieve my ambition. I have increased my courage to take on more responsibility at work and have learned the basics of home maintenance, which has helped us learn to use machines and equipment,” she added.

The two women had to face many challenges on their road to success.Renting the machine was very expensive and they were struggling with the expenses until they decided to buy one and save the rent value. Transportation costs were also weighing on them but Ghadeer’s husband agreed to help them with delivery because he believed in their business. The biggest obstacle however was the culture of shame that working women have to face.

“We have overcome the culture of shame in the community by leaving our homes and going to houses that we clean with the consent of our husbands and families which was granted after they saw that the BDC, a certified centre, was behind us.”

“After we got the support to advance our project, our profit has started increasing, which has made us aspire to employ other women from the local community and expand our services to the northern governorates, neighbouring villages and less fortunate communities,” Ghadeer concluded.

Thanks to the financial support of the EU via the Trust Fund, IFE-EFI works to promote gender equality and empower women on the national level through a wide variety of services that reach almost 45,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese and Syrian refugee women and girls.