Qualified Employees = Happy Employer

Women Empowerment Organization
Erbil, Iraq
December 2011

Surusht & Suham are two sisters who are now happily able to contribute to their family’s needs and well being thanks to the Youth Employment Program assistance funded by USAID-Tijara at the Women Empowerment Organization’s (WEO) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Erbil.

"When I heard about the training classes offered by the WEO SBDC I was astonished to learn about all of their training options. I chose the Employment Program course which provided me with information, skills and initial principles as well as job opportunities for me and my sister." Suham (age 21) said.

Surusht (age 22) said "after leaving school to help meet our family’s urgent financial assistance needs, I found it difficult to get a job without having experience or a graduate certificate. However, the Youth Employment Program gave me an opportunity – it was for me a golden chance."

Through WEO’s apprenticeship program, newly trained and qualified potential employees are linked up with local employers. After graduating from WEO’s Youth Employment Program program, Surusht & Suham were placed on an apprenticeship program with one company. When that company closed; WEO did not give up on them. The SBDC team searched for another suitable company and found the New Iraqi Company, a manufacturer of freezers.

The two sisters are now employed at New Iraqi Company as chefs in the company kitchen. Together they keep the cafeteria running for the company’s 200 employees. Other successful graduates of the employment skills program are also employed at the New Iraqi Company.

“When we participated in the Employment Program course we were introduced to many colleagues who are armed with college degrees in science. We felt ashamed for not finishing our studies. However, by the end of the training our motivation to provide support for our family had increased. We were also hopeful that some of the money gained from our work would help us to complete our studies in the near future, God willing,” said Surusht & Suham.

Now they are looking forward to participating in other training programs that USAID-Tijara supports at the WEO-SBDC.