Taking Flight

Rania’s limited resources diminished quickly when her husband became disabled, could no longer work, and needed expensive medical care. She and her two children tried their best to cope, but their options were few, and they were at risk of losing their home. Then, Rania heard about NEF’s Enhancing Economic Resilience for Displaced Iraqis and Poor Jordanians (EER) program. “I learned about a program that would train poor Jordanian women like me to become empowered and run our own businesses,” she says. “I really wanted to try.”

Rania hoped that by participating in the EER program she would be able to provide for her family. All she needed was a business idea. She decided to draw upon the knowledge she’d gained as a child helping her father raise birds. Although they are expensive, Rania decided to raise canaries to sell at market, where they receive a good price, even as babies. On a typical day, she brings 16 birds to sell at an open-air market.

Rania’s dedication to her business venture is evident from the affectionate way she speaks about her canaries. In Jordan, it is unusual for a woman to be involved in this line of work, and Rania can feel the community’s appreciation for her growing. “The fact that a woman raises birds and brings them to the market is a strange thing—but it’s also nice,” she says. “This special support for women is very good.”

Today, because of the training and guidance she received from the EER program, Rania no longer worries about buying food, paying bills, and acquiring the medication her husband needs. Most importantly, Rania takes comfort in knowing she has the ability to be the breadwinner of her family, no matter what the future brings. “It was really the most beautiful honor of my life that someone cared enough to show me how to take care of my family and my house,” she says.

This project is financed by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

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