Widowed women in Egypt’s villages can face immense challenges in supporting themselves and their families. For some of them, the death of their husband is the first time they have tried to enter the job market. With little education and no formal work experience, the situation can feel hopeless.

Mervat, a 48-year-old woman from Upper Egypt, found herself in exactly this situation. At a time when she was struggling to support herself and her son, a HANDS-sponsored micro-enterprise program helped her meet the needs of her family. 

After receiving training in how to write a business plan and submitting her application, Mervat received a small loan, which enabled her to buy goods and open a small grocery store. As the shop quickly attracted local customers, she was able to pay off her loan and then realized that her store had the potential to expand. With an additional loan, Mervat purchased even more products and saw her business continue to flourish. 

This HANDS-sponsored microfinance program provides loans to those in vulnerable economic situations around the country, including widows in Upper Egypt. Before the loan is given, feasibility studies  are conducted, and recipients receive business development training. Staff at our local partner organizations continue to offer advice once the business has opened. The micro-enterprise program has led to the successful launch of barber shops, clothing businesses, poultry and livestock farms, grocery stores, and more. 

We are so thankful to our donors for making these life-changing opportunities possible! It is your generosity that provides aspiring entrepreneurs like Mervat the opportunity to support themselves and their families, while having a positive impact on their communities.