After having been trained by Save the Children in July 2012 on Financial Literacy and Marketing at the Social Support Center in Marka, the nine mothers of child workers from the village of Abu Sayah- north of Amman, Jordan- went and created their small businesses.
Exploitative child labor is a phenomenon of growing concern in Jordan. It affects children’s right to education and is harmful to their physical, mental, moral and social development. Save the Children, along with Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) through its Social Support Centre and Youth Build International, is implementing a project to support national efforts to combat child labor in Jordan, funded by the U.S Department of Labor.
The project, “Promising Futures” focuses both on preventing and withdrawing children from child labor through education services, and on strengthening the economic basis of the families of child laborers by means of livelihoods services.
The project seeks to strengthen the economic basis of the families of child laborers by providing vocational and financial literacy training and by linking the families to existing financial and employment services.
Two women had saved up the $35 they had received from Save the Children as a reimbursement of transport cost for the training and convinced their husbands to match this with another $35. From their start-up capital one bought beauty products and the other household utensils. They probed the market to be able to set the right price level, and choose the products that women from their village might be interested in buying. From the skills they gained, both women are currently successfully running their home-based shops, with full support from their husbands. They attribute their success to the fact that their home-based shops sell products that are not available in their village and are easily accessible to women. In addition, they sell on tick to trusted customers, a service that gives them an advantage over other shops.
The remaining seven women, joined by another two together. Each of them invested $7 to hire a trainer, who gave them a three day course candle making. Next, they put together another $7 each to buy the raw materials needed. In addition, they agreed to each save $5 monthly to add to their business capital. One of the women cleared a room in her home for them to use as a workshop. When Save the Children met them in September 2012 they had made a first stock of candles which they expected to sell at a fair in Amman a few days later. One of the women owns a shop in the village where they will also be able to sell their produce. Moreover, the group negotiated with the local church to become its official supplier of candles.
These entrepreneurs are extremely motivated and want to show that women can do more than work in the home. To give more substance to their views, they started collecting data on the number of homebound girls and decided to take action to improve the local school, as they feel that issues there are causing the girls to drop out prematurely. A delegation of the women actually went to Amman and requested an audience with the Minister of Education. They succeeded in having the Minister promise a visit to the school to assess its needs. Having included their husbands in their initial plans, the women now have the full support from their community.