In Iman’s village near Assuit in Southern Egypt, it is not considered acceptable for a woman, let alone a widow to start a public business. But for Iman, depending on someone to support her family was not an option.
Since her husband’s death, Iman had struggled to provide the basic necessities for her family. She rarely had money left for the books and uniforms that her daughter, Mary, needed for school. When Mary enrolled in Coptic Orphans’ Not Alone program, Iman began participating in the trainings offered to the mothers to provide them with the skills and resources they need to become self-sufficient providers. Soon, she was ready to start her own business.
Iman set up a makeshift stand with crates for selling vegetables in front of her house. One by one, Iman’s neighbors started to accept the situation. Soon, she was earning enough income to support Mary’s education. But it wasn’t long before Iman recognized an opportunity for growth.
Her strategy involved a simple blue wheel-barrow that she purchased with the support of Coptic Orphans. Now she doesn’t sit around waiting for customers to come to her. Each day, Iman walks the small streets of Manfalout, pushing a load of fresh coriander, tomatoes, cucumbers, turnips, and other vegetables. Her door-to-door service gives her a strong advantage in the local vegetable market.
Iman started saving money to use for medical expenses and other needs. Having savings means that Iman and her daughter, who previously lived hand-to-mouth, are now better prepared for whatever life hands them.