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Producers not Refugees: initiative led by Syrian business woman in Egypt

(Eqtsad)- “Al-Sham Voluntary Team”, a relief team aims to spread the culture of Charity and volunteering work, besides supporting refugees, especially females, who are presented as “producers women, not helpless refugees live under poverty and need.

The idea of the team started 2011 when people from Homs were displaced to Damascus, then people of Daray and Moadamiyah 2012, which created a need to shelter those people and provide them food, which turned the idea into real project. 

When she arrived to Egypt end of 2012, the business woman Maisa had the chance to meet with people used to be founders of successful corporations. “I agreed with them to call the initiative: al-Sham Team, inspired from our Sham that we were forced to leave because of shelling, bombing and displacement, the team include 23 essential members and lot of volunteers who have been enthusiastic to help people

The team provides 100-150 food baskets monthly at about EGP.150 each, and medication for 61 family at cost of EGP. 21,000, besides sponsoring 22 families who have no source of income, sponsoring 31 students, added to covering emergency situations like road traffic and covering the cost of treatment. 

Mrs. Al-Shamma explained that their team would cooperate with Teartozoom organisation to teach 50 refugee woman on manual skills to be able to work and support themselves and their families. 

The business woman mentioned that the organisation invited the team for a 60-hour-course about active communication and reconciliation. In the end, the organisation provided the team with an initiation plan called “Producers not Refugees” to empower women with a skill and a profession to protect her from humiliation and compromising, with detailed study of the project besides the financial feasibility.

The courses would include teaching the hand craft, sewing and embroidery.

Mrs. Maisa mentioned that the team had a former successful experience in 2013, when they opened a workshop for handcraft to support 25 woman with a salary of EGP.1500, and the products were marketed inside Egypt and abroad, beside European countries.

Ladies who were trained in the workshop, train other 162 women helped them in supporting their families, Mrs. Al-Shamma explained and added that toward the end of 2015, the workshop suffered difficult conditions because many women left the country, and others preferred working from home, with increased the burden on th team especially with the high rent of the workshop.

The Business added that a plan for training other 50 woman for 2 months to empower them with a profession, without marketing. 

Despite the success of the team in charity and voluntary work, it faced lots of challenges limited its activities. One and most important difficulties was the legal procedures, which forced the team to coordinate with already founded Egyptian and Syrian companies, but when they saw the success of the team, they tended to force new regulations to limit of its activities.

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