Women in Lebanon face daunting challenges to both entering the labour force and facing protection concerns in their day-to-day life. With competition for jobs and resources on the rise in Lebanon, women face increasing obstacles in matching their skills with existing jobs due to lack of strong networks and access to financial resources. With this in mind, ACTED implemented an innovative project aimed at empowering vulnerable women in Jbeil and Msaitbeh through support for protection and learning of practical skills. The project, funded by the French Centre de Crise (CDC), was designed to offer advanced skills trainings focusing on protection and livelihoods in collaboration with the Social Development Centres (SDC) of Jbeil and Msaitbeh.
Over six months, 96 women participated in advanced skill-building sessions, focusing on sewing, catering and computer skills, complemented with business development and financial trainings. Through several workshops, the women took these sessions as an opportunity to improve their resilience to Lebanon’s constantly evolving social and economic conditions as well as a chance to forge a pathway into the labour market.
Throughout the months, the women taking part in this project attended numerous workshops led by private sector professionals, such as the international high fashion school ESMOD, who had introduced the trainees to proper measurement and fitting techniques during the course, and FabricAid, an innovative Lebanese start-up that recycles and upcycles clothing, as well as Kaddoum Honey Factory who supported the trainees under the same project. By shaping networks with private and public sector professionals, ACTED seeks to integrate these women into pre-existing jobs or provide them with the ability to create their own home-based business.
On Tuesday, September 12th, ACTED celebrated the 96 women who graduated from its sewing, catering and IT trainings in addition to protection trainings during a ceremony that took place at the Collège Saint Coeur, in Jbeil.
The graduation ceremony began with Mrs. Dolly El Chami, Jbeil SDC Director, who congratulated the graduates for their hard work and devotion to learning, adding that “the SDC has gained a lot from this collaboration with ACTED. Thanks to all the materials and tools we have acquired, more women will be able to join our SDC and gain rewarding skills and knowledge”. The ceremony was also attended by the Director of Msaitbeh SDC, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), the French CDC, ACTED in Lebanon, and local business owners.
The event was notably an opportunity for the 20 women enrolled in the sewing course to showcase their newly acquired skills during a fashion show. As such, each graduate sent their garments down the runway, either modelling their own clothes or walking beside their daughters. Huda, a participant in the sewing trainings, expressed her gratitude for the knowledge she has gained through this programme, saying, “we have learned a lot in the past six months. Between computer skills and sewing techniques, I am now able to make my dream come true and set out on the path to become a fashion designer.”
Following the fashion show, graduates came on stage to receive their diplomas from representatives from ACTED, the CDC and SDCs. In addition, ACTED Lebanon Country Director, Ms. Hart Ford, and ACTED Project Manager Joseph Nassar handed over honorary shields to the Ministry of Social Affairs representatives and the SDC directors to thank them for their efforts and support within the project.