From the small village of Thinabah in Tulkarem, Palestine, Khalidah aspires to one day have her own plus-size clothing line. The idea began a couple years ago as a hobby after attending a training course at Shami Textile Center. In order to buy materials to start producing pieces, she collected on debt that was owed from friends and family. The few dollars she occasionally loaned out to family members added up over the years.
Khalidah is very active in her community and learned about the WISE II program at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization through the Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development in Tulkarem. Although it is still in the idea phase, Khalidah has begun producing plus-size women’s clothing by recycling traditional sized garments and evaluates their market potential to further improve her craft.The main obstacle she is yet to overcome is basic logistics; she lacks the space and equipment necessary for increased production. As a businesswoman in Palestine, many barriers from the community confront Khalidah as well. She is faced with constant pressure from those around her and is relentlessly told that her business will fail. People often question Khalidah’s intentions as an entrepreneur. They inform her that her ambitions are futile since she is already married, which many consider life’s greatest accomplishment for a woman.
Khalidah’s village is geographically isolated, but through the WISE II program, she has been able to leave her village and broaden her network. She has met different organizations and fellow female entrepreneurs that she now use as resources to expand her market. She attends exhibitions all over the West Bank and had the opportunity to even participate in one held in Tulkarem.
The business plan Khalidah created in the Small Enterprise Center (SEC) training, has served as a tool to guide her throughout this process. She feels that it will be one of her business’s biggest assets for years to come. Khalidah has grown tremendously on a personal level as well. Her self-worth no longer revolves around her family and she recognizes the value of herself. She now holds herself accountable for the success of her business and does not pay attention to what others in the community have to say.
– Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator