Crisis to Opportunity: Building a Woman-Owned Business in the Heart of Cairo — Partnership in action org

Wrapping up our series, Rooted in Resilience: From Crisis to Opportunity, is the story of Reham Ahmed Mohamed in Egypt. For more photos and stories of the Aga Khan Foundation’s partners, please download our 2013 annual report.

The last three years have been challenging for everyone in Egypt, as the 2011 Arab Spring gave way to a turbulent time. Amid the disruptions, young people and small enterprises have paid some of the steepest prices. Over 9 out of 10 young people are unemployed, and small businesses have failed as their costs have soared.

Take the case of Reham Ahmed Mohamed, who received a loan to start a shop in the low-income neighborhood of
Darb al-Ahmar, near the Al-Azhar Park. She received a loan under the Head Start! project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development(USAID) and implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A., in coordination with Aga Khan Foundation-Egypt (AKF-E) and the First MicroFinance Foundation Egypt (FMF-E).


When we first met Reham two years ago, she had just received her first loan from FMF-E to open a poultry shop. Today, she continues to tackle the challenges that have faced many businesses like hers throughout this phase of instability in Egypt. Business training is a requirement for Head Start! loan recipients like Reham. Despite the difficulties in Egypt today, she is doing much better with improved business management skills gained since she first started. Now she has only five months left before finishing repayment of that loan.

Reham has about 100 regular clients in addition to a growing number of walk-ins who are slowly turning into loyal customers. Since she is doing well, and seeing the demand for her product grow, she plans to take a new loan with a bigger amount (approximately $5,000) to open a second outlet for selling her chickens.

She has another plan too. After she pays off the remaining five installments of her first loan, Reham plans to get married. Reham’s family continues to be proud of her success.

Learn more about Head Start! here. And, be sure to check out the full Rooted in Resilience: From Crisis to Opportunity series here, and be sure to join us on Facebook!


Source: Partnership in action org



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