Humans always strive to achieve a life of happiness, safety, and stability. After 2011, the Syrian crisis worsened greatly, which led many families to flee to Lebanon in search of safety and a livelihood.
In light of the economic challenges facing Lebanon, refugee families have faced extremely poor living conditions and very limited opportunities for work.
In 2013, SB Overseas opened the education and empowerment centers in Lebanon, which have played a role in helping families cope with these conditions through empowering women.
The empowerment program gives women tools to help them stand firm in the face of trauma and challenges. It also aims to enhance the self-confidence of women and give them the opportunity to be an active participant in their families and communities, guiding women to find independence, inner strength, self-motivation, and creativity.
Enrollees in the empowerment program undergo a 3-month course in one of our centers in (Saida, Beirut, or Arsal), all of which are located in or near the camps in order to be easily accessible to women and youth.
The program is divided into two areas: academic, which comprises language teaching and literacy; and vocational training, which comprises practical skills training, including computer skills, sewing, and wool. The main vocational training focus is on sewing and wool instruction, both of which give women an opportunity not only to learn a trade, but also to establish a means for regular income-earning.
Highly trained instructors provide women with a level of skill suitable for them to find work in these professions. With the skills obtained, women are able to make and repair clothing both for their own families and for the community, helping them meet their own needs while giving them the option to work close to home.
This is especially important because most of the trainees are widowed women, making them the main caretakers and breadwinners for their families.
During the course, women are trained to make models that they can use for personal use at no charge.
When trainees knit hats or gloves, they can take these products home to use for themselves and their families. This provides a sense of empowerment for women from the beginner level of the course, allowing them to help their families and motivating them to continue with the course.
After the trainees are familiar with the basics of the profession, they start making dolls.
Dolls are a source of amusement for children, but this is not the only purpose for the dolls of our trainees at the center. These dolls express the secret of the strength inherent in these women. The women accurately and creatively weave the doll’s details, painting a smile that will not leave her, no matter how troubling life may be. Another important product of this program is the handsewn linen tote bag. The bag is made of fabric to reduce consumption and preserve the environment. These bags also have a special significance for trainees, as the handmade drawings, paintings, and embroidery depict illustrations of the trainees’ hopes, dreams, and values.
Once finished, all of these products are marketing and sold by SB, and 100% of their profits go to the trainees who produced them after deducting the price of wool or fabric. When the trainees have completed the program and are ready for work, they are given the opportunity to use the machines and equipment in the center for personal use without charge, providing them a way to work and earn money. The center also provides them with the materials they need at wholesale prices so that they can collect enough profit to provide for their needs and help their families. Furthermore, after acquiring enough skills, some of the women are able to receive classes to become qualified trainers themselves.
By supporting the empowerment program, you save youth from early marriage and help them build an independent personality looking to achieve lofty goals; by buying a doll, you support a woman who fights to achieve a living for herself; and by buying a bag, you contribute to achieving the dream of a woman who works to combat the challenges surrounding her to become a strong, independent individual in her community. With your support, you help to create an enriched, self-sufficient, empowered community.