Yasmeen: “I only have my business to wake up to every morning”
I can immediately see Yasmeen’s life’s journey in her eyes when she welcomes me into her humble hairdressing salon. ‘I live alone, so it was convenient to have my business inside my house, I made a space for it as you can see’, Yasmeen explains as she leads the way. ‘This house was partially damaged during the last war. We fixed a few things with compensation money, but much more work needs to be done. Look up, can you see the destruction?’
Yasmeen is a single woman living on her own in this conservative part of Gaza. She openly talks about her deceased parents, in particular about her dad, who died during the 2014 war. ‘My parents always supported my wish to finish my studies and to become financially independent.’ She points outside to the surrounding houses, where her brothers live. ‘They wanted to control me, and my business. I suffered from abuse from them and their spouses more than once. It makes me appreciate my independence; I hold onto it tightly‘, Yasmeen explains.
After graduating from a professional hairdressing and beauty course in 2007, Yasmeen started working as a home beautician and hairdresser. The three assaults on Gaza since that date, however, complicated her work. Still determined to ensure her independence, she started a sheep breeding business, about which she knew nothing, until Action Against Hunger’s program allowed her to pick up the thread and open a home-based beauty salon again. ‘I only have my business to wake up to every morning. Even if I ever decide to get married, leaving my business is not an option’, Yasmeen stresses. She aspires to have an actual salon outside her home, and to train and employ other women. ‘Hopefully I will not need external funding anymore in the future’, Yasmeen adds.
Since the Action Against Hunger business training, she started marketing for her business actively through social media and street banners. Yasmeen convincingly adds: ‘I also learned to save up money and to soon expand my business!’