Delicious Food Turned Into a Fruitful Business
Both in their 30’s, Eman a single woman and Dhayeh a widow with a school-age daughter came together by means of UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project (3x6 approach) to start their own catering business which happens to be one of its kind here in Sama Al-Sarhan in Mafraq governorate.
“This new income has been very helpful in supporting my daughter, I used to worry about money if she gets sick or needs anything urgently before."
Dhayeh decided to raise her daughter alone after her husband passed away. She tried to make a living from several home-based small projects but none had a long-term income promise. She says: “household income in the area is very small, and so people’s purchasing power very limited which is why my small home projects didn’t make enough money”. She adds that she had the food catering idea in mind for a while but none of her friends thought it was possible: “I tried to convince my friends but they all declined saying it’s not easy and costs a lot of money”. Eman, her business partner had the same ambition which is why she pitched at the second stage of the project. They instantly teamed up to create the first food catering service in Sama Al-Sarhan. Eman passionately describes their project as well-known and reputable.
Now people from Sama Al-Sarhan and nearby areas buy from them instead of going to the greater Mafraq area.
Dhayeh describes how the project helped her increase her average monthly income by happily saying: “this new income has been very helpful in supporting my daughter, I used to worry about money if she gets sick or needs anything urgently before”.
As for Eman who was unemployed at the time of her participation in the project, she says: “you know how despite of being supportive, I still felt embarrassed to ask my family for money when I need it. Now I make money out of my own business and it feels great to be able to pay for myself”.
“The incentive we received through the project has helped us start this business, and put us on the first step to success” says Dhayeh while Eman adds that they had this kitchen built out of the money they made several months ago and less than a year from starting their business.
Embraced by Society
“Home-made food is more desired in our society because it’s delicious and clean” Says Dhayeh. People embraced them and stopped ordering from far away caterers. And despite of working late sometimes, their community has been supportive of them.
On their list of loyal customers are the municipality of Sama Al-Sarhan, a number of public schools, health centers and governmental and military institutions in their area.
Dhayeh and Eman are aware of the low seasons and always plan their special offers around them. “Our prime season is in Summer, specifically the weddings’ season and the holy month of Ramadan” says Eman. “We ask our friends to help us during those times to take on all orders and satisfy our customers” adds Dhayeh.
In the future they hope to introduce more dishes. They also want to change the packaging of their meals “the containers sold here are not of high quality and so they sometimes melt or spill food” says Dhayeh. Buying better containers mean going to Amman, the capital which is not convenient without a car which is one of the reasons they are both taking driving lessons.
They also hope to open a bigger kitchen in the greater Mafraq area to be able to serve more customers.
UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project (3x6 approach) in Al-Sarhan area, Mafraq governorate is funded by The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and in collaboration with the National Microfinance Bank and the World Food Programme has positively changed them so much that they are not afraid of having big dreams and they definitely have the courage to pursue them.