Sunday 13 October 2019

 Shayma’a and Ne’ma’s Corner Store

“I have always dreamt of having my own corner shop. My sister Shayma’a and I think the same way and had the same goal: to open the store together.”

At the ages of 16 and 17, Shayma’a and Ne’ma became the most popular entrepreneurs in their village in Assiut. Like the majority of out-of-school children within their community, the sisters felt hopeless as they remained largely confined to their home with limited knowledge of the outside world. Eager to break the boundaries set by their society, in which lack of education and early marriage are common for girls their age, Shayma’a and Ne’ma set their own ambitions and vision for the future.

To achieve their dream, the girls enrolled in our Youth in Action (YiA program). YiA was a six-year program that worked to improve the socioeconomic status of out-of-school girls and boys between the ages of 12 and 18 in Egypt’s Assiut and Sharqiya governorates, as well as in four other African countries. YiA did this by building their foundational and life skills, social assets and knowledge. The youth were supported to build key partnerships with their families and communities that helped them overcome barriers to their development, including gender-based barriers.

After their participation in YiA, Shayma’a and Ne’ma successfully pursued their dream of owning a corner shop. They learned how to study the market and develop a viable business plan. Speaking to them today, they say their self-confidence is greater than they could have imagined. Once isolated at home, they now not only operate a business, but, more importantly, have become empowered to voice their views within their family and in their community.