The Art of Recycled Furniture
It took a lot of courage from Hiba Abu-Abdoh, 32 years old, to join UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project (3x6) approach only 3 months after losing her little daughter due to a medical error. She overcome her grief for the sake of supporting her family at first; later she found out being engrossed in the project has given her a new hope for the future and transformed her life completely.
“Through the awareness sessions UNDP has provided to us, we learned that factories in our area dispose of their waste either by burying the waste under the ground which makes the soil lose its fertility or burning it in the desert causing pollution. We wanted to start an environmental initiative that is sustainable and beautiful.”
A Glimpse of Light
“Until now we don’t know what happened, she was wrongly diagnosed. My husband had a serious work injury and needed a surgery too. I was looking for a way to pay for the surgery and take care of our son financially as I didn’t have a job” says Hiba. She applied to participate in the project as soon as she heard about it from Al-Dlail’s municipality – Zarqa governorate and helped facilitate some of the initial training sessions.
When the time came to choose a community initiative, which is the first stage of the Emergency Employment Project (3x6) approach, Hiba and her team chose a recycling project hoping to help protect Al-Dlail’s environment. “Through the awareness sessions UNDP has provided to us, we learned that factories in our area dispose of their waste either by burying the waste under the ground which makes the soil lose its fertility or burning it in the desert causing pollution. We wanted to start an environmental initiative that is sustainable and beautiful.”
Protecting Al-Dlail’s Environment
They approached factories in their neighborhood as well as Al-Dlail’s landfill management to discuss retrieving recyclable waste from factories. The landfill was exporting fabrics to Egypt where they re-use them as filling for pillows and mattresses to be sold abroad; which made Hiba and her team decide to benefit their community by taking fabrics and other materials such as sponge, wood and bottle caps and use them in recycled hand-made furniture instead. “We take caps from fizzy drink bottles and place them between the woods in all the furniture we make to make them more enduring.” They make chairs, multi-function furniture pieces, kitchen accessories, cushions, blankets and more.
From Hardship to Entrepreneurship
While others in her team would like to turn the recycled furniture into a business, Hiba has other personal talents to employ; she says: “I’m very good at cooking. There aren’t any meal-making businesses in our area. There are only a few catering services which work on a large-scale basis, providing one or two dishes for special occasions and big events only. I can make many different dishes including desserts and I want to target schools, birthday and newborn parties…etc.”
Hiba’s inner strength and resilient mind will open doors of excitement and well-being for her, especially after the new expertise she acquired through the project.
It is worthy of note that UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project (3x6 approach) in Zarqa governorate, is funded by the government of Japan and World Food Programme (WFP) and in collaboration with the National Microfinance Bank. UNDP is implementing this project’s activities with the support of the Business Development Center (BDC).