On International Women's Day - Egyptian female entrepreneurs break the mould

Today is International Women’s Day and around the world people are celebrating!

We are sure each and every one of you have at least one amazing woman in your lives (you may even be one of the amazing yourself!). We wanted to share the story of how one woman overcame adversity and built a successful business in a traditionally male role.

Meena, who lives in a small town not far from Minya in Egypt, found herself with no means of supporting her family when her husband died. He had run a concrete business but this folded after his death. Despite her loss, Meena was determined to find a way to provide for herself and family. And this is where Embrace partner Think and Do stepped in.

Think and Do provide support in villages in rural Egypt. They aim to fight poverty and disease and to give disadvantaged people the means to live with dignity. This is done through literacy classes run by local women and small business loans.

Women with their children in a literacy class in Egypt
Women can bring their children to literacy classes

Women and girls who have missed out on their education, benefit from these classes and from seminars on a variety of subjects including childhood nutrition, prevention and treatment of common diseases, family planning and other practical topics relevant to everyday life.

Meena approached Think and Do to ask for a microloan to help her start a new cement business.

Not only did Think and Do make her a loan, they also conducted a simple feasibility study to help ensure the business would be a success.

Meena realised that bags of cement, which usually contain 10kg, were too big for the needs of many people. This meant that they had to buy far too much or, in many cases, could not afford to buy any at all.

Meena and her daughter buy the large bags and split them into much smaller bags or 1 or 2kg. In this way, people can buy the amount of cement they need and Meena makes a fair profit from the bags she sells.

Her approach impressed our Director or Programmes and Partnerships, Jamie Eyre who said:

It really struck me as an ingenious solution to the problem. With the support of Think and Do the business has been revived and now thrives with successful women entrepreneurs in charge.’

If you would like to give other people in the Middle East the chance to break out of poverty, click here to give now. Every donation makes a difference to lives. Thank you.