Catching Up With Rania

Last year, NEF brought you the story of Rania, a beneficiary from Zarqa, Jordan. She is part of NEF and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration’s Enhancing the Economic Resiliency of Displaced Iraqis and Poor Jordanians project. When we first met her, she was in a precarious situation. Her husband had just taken ill and was struck blind. The roof of her home had collapsed, and the local authorities were going to have to evict her for safety reasons. She was in dire straits.

“I used to be shy,” Rania says. “Even if I just had to go to the market, I didn’t know what to do.”

The Enhancing the Economic Resiliency of Displaced Iraqis and Poor Jordanians project is a joint effort designed to help those in most need to develop business and vocational skills. NEF teamed up with local community-based organizations (CBOs) to find those who stood to benefit most in their communities from such help. They would learn business administration and marketing, as well as bookkeeping. Vocational training options included computers, perfuming, and leatherwork.

The end of the training was marked by a cash grant. Jordanians filled out grant requests and submitted a business plan. After a review by NEF and CBO staff, the amount was granted if the business model seemed viable.

“NEF gave us their trust with this money,” Rania says. “It influenced me a lot.”

Being unable to work in their host countries, the Iraqi refugees received grants of cash assistance, designed to help increase their quality of life, until they could be resettled and use their newly learned skills legally.

“We could barely pay the rent,” Rania says, “and when we did, we’d have nothing left over.” She immediately set upon breeding and selling songbirds, which can fetch a good price in her area. Songbirds are a vocation with which she grew up, as her father bred the birds

In just six months, Rania has developed a thriving business. Her husband now assists with taking care of her birds and she can buy him the medicines he desperately needs. She has repaired the roof of her home and purchased new bedrooms for her three children. She does not want for anything. She does not ask for help and she doe not take government assistance. She revels in her newfound independence.

“This changed my situation from the worst to the best,” Rania says. “I can keep up with my family’s needs without help from anyone.”

This was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

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