15March2023 Jordan: the story of Sawsan


by Benedetta Bassi

Sawsan’s story is a true evidence to the transformative power of the Start Women UP project implemented by ARCS and funded by San Zeno Foundation, which targets Syrian and Jordanian women with an entrepreneurial idea to develop, aiming to help improve the socioeconomic conditions of women in Karak Governorate, Jordan.

Sawsan Abdulrahim, 33, is a Syrian refugee who fled her civil war-torn country in 2013 and sought refuge in Jordan. Today she lives with her husband and their five children in Karak governorate in southern Jordan. To earn a living, her husband often worked a day job in a tailoring store, but that was not enough to cover the costs of their large family. However, Sawan’s life took a turn for the better when she applied to participate in the Start Women UP project and was selected among 30 applicants to take part in the entrepreneurship training course. In December 2022, after completing the course and finalizing the business plan, Sawan was selected to receive the grant and ARCS staff proceeded to purchase the sewing machines needed to establish her tailoring business from home. Thanks to the support received from the Start Women UP project, Sawsan and her husband started their own tailoring enterprise. In the first month they had about 15 customers and generated a profit of about 90 Jordanian dinars, about 120 euros. Sawsan uses this money, in addition to the assistance she receives from the World Food Program (WFP), to cover her basic needs such as buying food and paying rent. In the future, Sawsan would like to expand his business to include a laundry store.

Sawsan’s story is just one example of the impact the Start Women UP project has had on refugee women and host community members in Karak governorate. By providing training courses and access to credit, the program has enabled women to start their own businesses, become financially independent, and contribute to the local economy.

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