Here are just a few of the many success stories at the YMCA including interviews with program achievements and testimonies of individual beneficiaries.
Atayeb Al Rif is the first cooperative specialized in marketing in Lebanon. The cooperative was established through the USAID-funded SMART Program, a YMCA initiative to provide rural women in Lebanon with income generation opportunities. The program established women-owned food processing centers that were linked to the newly formed Atayeb Al Rif Coop for marketing their produce.
Today, Atayeb Al Rif is an autonomous organization that works closely with agricultural cooperatives on three key tracks aimed at improving their services and production:
May Traboulsy, chairperson of Atayeb al Rif and Project Manager, has over 10 years of experience in community development, women empowerment and cooperatives work. Ms. Traboulsy has been involved with Atayeb al Rif cooperative from the earliest days, establishing the organization and training the first women’s groups. She now markets products for 40 women’s cooperatives and many small entrepreneurs from all regions of Lebanon.
Ali Majed, from Beirut
Employee in a company that sells and maintains photocopiers and electronic equipment
Before WAKIB I had no idea how to create a small project or how to manage it to be successful and gain profits from the good management process. The training helped me in expanding my business and better managing it, and enrolling in the ICT training helped him build my capacity to face the market without any fear of competition. Through the Scale Up project I have gained lots of information about to create and manage small projects. I had difficulties due to my physical disability and I was scared to create my own project. Now I am willing to open my own computer shop and small library by searching for small loans. I have a better idea how to manage and to make my project better.
Mohammad Allaw, from Nabatieh
I wanted to create a small bee farm, and now after participating in Scale Up I want to produce more honey and reach new markets, by expanding my business with my father through applying for a big loan from Egypt and Lebanon Bank (Kafalat Micro Finance Institute). At the moment, my products are distributed only in South Lebanon, but they aim to see them on shelves throughout Lebanon. I gained from participating in this training to accomplish a dream I have been dreaming of since long time. The role of reach Up is to start up the small business and how to manage but the Scale Up allows him to take a risk to apply for a big loan in order to expand the business to produce more honey and increase the profits after making a feasibility study and a small needs assessment.
The program targeted youth who could not access the regular schools or the regular technical schools (private or public) for a host of reasons: lack of schooling, lack of opportunity (Palestinians) or lack of resources (unable to pay the cost of schooling).
The program could offer these beneficiaries the possibility of a full accelerated course, in their villages, with good teachers, supervised by professionals, with practical experience, a tool kit with everything needed to start working, and a graduation certificate to show potential employers. Presented below are four testimonies from graduates:
Rose Habib Rayak, from Middle Bekaa
I am from a poor family. We are 8 persons at home and I’m the eldest daughter. I had to work at an early age in order to help my parents in an additional needed income to cover the family needs. I did not have a chance to apply to a technical school because we could not afford to pay the annual fees.
When I heard about the computer and English language training session at Dar El Sadaka Fourzol, I applied and followed the training. My boss encouraged me and accepted the absence hours during the training knowing that I will acquire skills that will help me to perform in my job. Today I have a better position. I developed my skills, in addition, I applied for a grant to Dar El Sadaka and bought a computer and today I type a lot of documents for the university students, which brings additional money home. Our economical situation is much better and this was only possible because of the accelerated training session I could follow.
Ali Sobhi Dirani, 20 years old from Shmestar Bekaa
Our family is composed of 8 children in addition to my parents. My father is handicapped and cannot work and my mother does not work too. I am responsible with my eldest brother for the family’s survival. When I applied for the agricultural mechanics training session at Dar Al Sadaka I had the impression that a door was opened in front of me. My life changed completely; today I work with my brother in our garage. People come to us from all over the area. Our economical condition is much better and all this is happening because of the funds offered, and the training session organized, that helped us to stand where we are today. These five months training changed our life.
Ali Abdel karim Sabra 23 years old born in Baalbeck
I come from a modest family and dropped out from school because I never liked it. I heard about the accelerated training session in mechanics executed By YMCA at Dar Al Sadaka, and frankly speaking I thought I would not like it because in my mind it would be addressed to Christians and managed by Christian people. I applied to this training and was surprised to meet with very responsible people who are very eager to help us plan a better future. The program was complete. The equipment was rich and diversified. The conferences and meetings widened our vision. All these elements helped me to graduate as a good technician and work in a plastic company (Panda Plastics) as the person responsible for the maintenance of the machines and equipments. Today I am preparing myself to travel to Dubai to work in a foreign company with a very good salary. The training session changed my whole life and turned me from a loser into a responsible productive man.
Mireille Elie Massaad 23 years old, born in Fourzol Bekaa
I left school during my secondary studies without getting a diploma and went to work in a shop. I was not happy with my life. When I heard about the English language and computer skills training session at Dar El Sadaka Fourzol, I directly registered to follow the course because I could not afford to register in a private technical school (The private courses could cost between 150 and 200 US Dollars). I followed the course and was using the premises to do some practice when I had some free time. After my graduation I was invited to join the Dar Al Sadaka team as a trainer for children on computer skills. Today I have a new job and a new life thanks to the training session that allowed me to change my life in these very difficult times.