STORIES

The stories and meaning behind our work is as important to us as our economic data. We maximize our impact by working with local actors to design projects that fit their needs, hiring local staff to carry out the projects, and partnering with local institutions to ensure the impact continues even after our projects end. As a result, our stories come not just from our project beneficiaries, but also from our staff and partners. Below are a select group of stories that demonstrate our impact on-the-ground.

 

 

 

MEII’s Internship Program: Paving the Road to Employment


A few years ago, MEII started an internship program for financial and administrative assistance at its offices in Palestine, Tunisia, Jordan, and Washington D.C. MEII’s internship program seeks to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge gained at universities and practical real-life work experience, with the goal of providing university students with more opportunities to find a job or start their own business in an increasingly competitive environment.

Ms. Raneem joined the MEII Loan Guarantee Fund in Ramallah, Palestine during her senior year at university. During her six-month internship, she was trained by MEII portfolio specialists to evaluate business applications and financial requests. Throughout her internship, she developed an understanding of financial statements, the use of financial ratios to evaluate business capacity to expand and increase profitability, how to pay back loans from business cash flows, how to evaluate SMEs’ financial needs, how to assess the risk and creditworthiness of borrowers, and how to understand different business sectors. Ms. Raneen was immediately able to apply the knowledge she gained in her internship to real-life scenarios, adding to what she learned in the university classroom. At the end of her internship, Ms. Raneem was offered a position at FATEN, a microfinance institution, as an SME loan officer.

Ms. Raneem stated that “without my MEII internship, I would have never been able to gain such practical experience. This internship gave me an advantage over my peers to find a good job opportunity. I urge every student to pursue an internship so that they can be equipped with knowledge and experience.”

 

 

 

Al iman

Mrs. Tamam has over 30 years of experience in sewing and dressmaking. She used to have a workshop in her family house in the refugee camp near Ramallah, however, she was forced to move to a new location, losing her business in the process. After lengthy period of searching for a new workshop, she finally found one, but unfortunately she needs finance to start her business from scratch. This included purchases of sewing machines and workshop building maintenance. Mrs. Tamam faced difficulty in getting the financing due to her age and collateral requirements.  Tamweeli was the solution.

 “I was going to give up after all the refusals I was getting from several FI’s but Tamweeli saved me. Thank you Tamweeli for helping me and special thanks to your great team.”

Mrs. Tamam now has a workshop with around 20 machines. Two employees working with her and intends on expanding her workshop to hire 4 more, not only Tamweeli helped Mrs. Tamam to maintain the only source of income for her family but also created six more jobs.

السيدة تمام لديها أكثر من ثلاثين عاما خبرة في الخياطة وتفصيل الملابس، كانت تدير مشغلها في منزل العائلة في المخيم بالقرب من رام الله، لكن للاسف اضطرت لترك المكان لتبدأ رحلة شاقة في البحث عن مكان جديد، لكن عندما وجدت المكان لم تنتهي متاعبها فالحصول على تمويل لتجهيز المكان وشراء بعض ماكينات الخياطة لم يكن بهذه السهولة بسبب عمرها المتقدم ومتطلبات الضمان.

موقع تمويلي الموقع الاول في فلسطين للربط بين الممولين والباحثين عن تمويل وجدت لديه الحل.

" لقد بدأت افقد الأمل في الحصول على تمويل لمشروعي بسبب رفض بعض المؤسسات طلبي، لكن موقع تمويلي انقذني وحصلت على التمويل للبدء بمشروعي من جديد، شكرا لموقع تمويلي ولموظفيه الرائعين"

السيدة تمام لديها اليوم قرابة العشرين ماكنة وتعمل لديها سيدتين وقريبا جدا ستوظف اربع سيدات اخريات، موقع تمويلي ساعد السيدة تمام باستمرار مشروعها مصدر الدخل الوحيد للعائلة و ايضا ساهم في خلق ستة فرص عمل لسيدات.

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Clothing shop in bethlehem

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Four brothers, all employed at different companies with degrees in different fields, decided to start their own business when they realized that they were not making a sustainable salary at their former jobs. The brothers decided to start a men’s clothing shop in Bethlehem, hiring an employee for the morning shift and splitting the evening shift among themselves. One of the brothers stated that “this shop is the base for a better future for our families; it’s our security and guarantee for the future, as employment is never secured in our turbulent environment”

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However, the brothers quickly realized that they were losing control over their stock and their expenses. They needed to find a more efficient way to manage their financials. Fortunately, MEII introduced them to technical assistance program . With the right training and financial software, they were able to properly manage their business and make advancements to produce further growth.

“Thanks to MEII, we can manage our stock and decide which brands and designs are better sold than others, and, as a result, make better decisions for the next orders. Now we can make better pricing and generate more accurate reports that show exactly what we made and what we spent. We have even been able to include our overhead expenses  such as rent, electricity etc.. to get accurate figures of our net profit.” 

محل ملابس في بيت لحم

أربعة اخوة بتخصصات مختلفة يعملون كموظفين، قرروا ان يبدأوا نشاط تجاري خاص لأن الوظيفة دخلها محدود و لا تغطي تكاليف الحياة التي تزداد بشكل كبير في ظل محدودية راتب الوظيفة،  قرر الاخوة افتتاح محل للألبسة الرجالية في مدينة بيت لحم حيث قاموا بتعيين موظف للفترة الصباحية ويتناوب الاخوة علي الفترة المسائية.

المحل حقق مبيعات جيدة وساعد بتحقيق دخل اضافي للاخوة مما ساعدهم في توفير دخل اضافي لعائلاتهم، لكن بعد فترة اتضح لهم انهم لا يستطيعون ضبط المخزون من حيث الأصناف او الكميات اضافة للربح الصافي المتحقق.

لحسن الحظ ساعدتهم مبادرة الشرق الأوسط ومن خلال برنامج الدعم الفني بتقديم النصح والارشاد حول الادارة المالية اضافة لتزويدهم ببرنامج محاسبي مكنهم من فهم وضعهم المالي وامكانيات التوسع.

"شكرا لمبادرة الشرق الأوسط للاستثمار، اليوم نستطيع معرفة كميات المخزون  والأصناف الأكثر رواجا ومبيعا لدينا وبالتالي شراء الموديلات  المناسبة. نستطيع تسعيرالبضاعة بطريقة أفضل والحصول على جميع التقارير الضرورية كما اننا تمكنا من معرفة  الربح الحقيقي بعد ادخال جميع المصروفات مثل الرواتب والكهرباء والايجار."

 

The face of Meii: Staff profile

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Samer Barakat joined MEII in 2007 as an office assistant, mainly working to assist the HR manager and driving staff to field visits. His admirable work ethic allowed him to advance to a position as the office assistant and security coordinator in 2009, taking on the additional responsibility of managing office security. In 2014, Samer was once again promoted to the position of administrative officer, responsible for all human resources issues including managing employee files, staff attendance, time sheets, and procurements. This new position also entailed acting as a receptionist and planning field visits.

Samer is a skilled multi-tasker and great team player, demonstrating a willingness to help his coworkers outside of formal office hours. As the employee responsible for procurements and HR, he is well known around the office and with outside groups who work with MEII. As one employee stated, “When Samer is on personal leave, nothing works smoothly. He is our energizer!”

Samer has said that “MEII helped me develop my professional skills. I have to give special credit to Rami Khoury [MEII’s Executive Vice President] who believed in me and opened this new career path up to me. Hopefully, my career will continue to grow at MEII and someday I will reach an office manager position.”

Samer holds a diploma in Networking and Telecommunications from the Palestine Polytechnic Institute in Hebron. He lives with his wife and four children: Mohammad (10), Naheda (8), Nisma (7), and Naleeen (5).

 

FEMALE-OWNED PRIVATE SCHOOL IN THE WEST BANK

 

MEII’s provided an entrepreneurial Palestinian woman with a loan guarantee and technical assistance, allowing her to ambitiously expand a private school of her own.

The woman’s personal experience, in which she was unable to finish her own education until after 10 years of marriage and raising three children, coupled with her desire to provide high quality, affordable education in her West Bank village, led her to open her own school in September 2012. In 2014, MEII initially guaranteed her loan of $200,000 from a Palestinian bank and later agreed to increase the size of the loan to $323,000. MEII also provided technical assistance, increasing her financial management skills and business confidence.

With MEII’s help, the woman was able to expand her land ownership from 500 to 5000 square meters to build a new and improved school, which opened in 2015. Her school has 300 students, 18 female staff members (out of 23 total), and five administrators. Her school teaches advanced curriculum in English and extracurricular activities. She is also planning on opening a summer camp beginning in the summer of 2018. The woman’s school provides children with the opportunities she didn’t enjoy when she was young, delivering affordable, accessible, and high-quality education to her village. Congratulations and thank you for helping further access to education in the West Bank!

 

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الارادة تحقق الاحلام

بالرغم من انها لم تكمل دراستها الثانوية بسبب عدم وجود مدرسة ثانوية في قريتها، الا ان ذلك لم يثنيها عن السعي لتحقيق حلمها بعمل مدرسة خاصة تقدم تعليم مميز بجودة عالية مبنية على تطوير وبناء الشخصية والمهارات الحياتية اضافة للانشطة اللامنهجية.

فبعد عشر سنوات زواج وانجاب ثلاثة اطفال اصرت هذه السيدة الفلسطينية على انهاء الثانوية العامة ومن ثم الحصول على درجة البكالوريوس في اساليب تعليم اللغة الانجليزية.

بدأ حلم انشاء مدرسة خاصة يراودها مع دخول ابنائها المدرسة حيث لم يكن التحصيل الاكاديمي بالمستوى الذي تتمناه. فبدأت باستئجار مبنى وتجهيزه لتتمكن خلال تسعة اشهر من افتتاح مدرستها و استقبال 170 طالب في العام 2012. لكن هذا فقط كان البداية لبناء مدرستها وفق اعلى المواصفات، حيث تمكنت تدريجيا من شراء ارض بمساحة 5000 متر مربع. في العام 2013 بدأت ببناء المدرسة عن طريق الحصول على تمويل بقيمة 200,000$ من احد البنوك الفلسطينية لترفعه لاحقا الى 323,000$  هذا التمويل لم يكن ممكنا لولا برنامج ضمان القروض لدى مبادرة الشرق الأوسط للاستثمار والتي قدمت لها ايضا الدعم الفني والتقني في الادارة المالية والمحاسبة من خلال برنامج تمويلي.

في عام 2015 حققت حلمها بافتتاح المبنى الجديد للمدرسة باحدث المواصفات والمختبرات كما توفر تعليم اكاديمي وانشطة علمية وترفيهية ورياضية مميزة للطلاب في القرية، تضم مدرستها اليوم 300 طالب وفيها 23 موظف. الاحلام لم ولن تتوقف ففي جعبتها المزيد.  


Female-Owned Optical and Vision Center

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*Due to moral hazard reasons, we have used pseudonyms in place of the entrepreneurs' actual names.

Tala, a young female entrepreneur with a bachelor’s degree in optics and vision science, worked in a health center as an optician after completing her studies. Following that experience she partnered with a friend, Yasmin, to open an optical and vision center in their city.

 

Kindergarten

This Kindergarten was founded 10 years ago by a dedicated and passionate educator who successfully built a wonderful reputation among parents, but who struggled with her financial performance.
MEII provided technical assistance and developed her booking and accounting system so that this ambitious entrepreneur could focus more on educating her 600 children instead of struggling with her back of the envelop financial system.   
 

Photographs and description provided by Fawz Abuhijleh, MEII Palestine Staff.


WEST BANK STRAWBERRY FARM

Mohammed and his two brothers own and work in a strawberry farm green house in a village near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank. They invested in a new method of planting strawberries in hanging pots, instead of soil, which dramatically increases production yield. However, without an accounting system, they struggled with their finances and financial performance.

Photographs and description provided by Fawz Abuhijleh, MEII Palestine Staff.


PALESTINIAN PHARMACY

Suzanne, a pharmacist living in a village near Ramallah, is an ambitious and active entrepreneur. She is not only the founder and owner of two local pharmacies, but has become a beloved public figure within her local community and a role model for all the young girls in her village.

MEII helped her learn the skills she needed to record, track, and understand her financial transactions and develop new financial statements. The accounting software also allowed her to track stock quantity and manage the expiration of pharmaceutical products in her business. 

Photographs and description provided by Fawz Abuhijleh, MEII Palestine Staff.