Woman takes the wheel in male-dominated profession in Jordan, opens own tire shop in Mafraq

Published December 5th, 2016 - 07:48 GMT
Thick clouds of toxic black smoke billow from inferno in huge tyre dump in Sesena, south of Madrid, Spain. (File photo)
Thick clouds of toxic black smoke billow from inferno in huge tyre dump in Sesena, south of Madrid, Spain. (File photo)

This year has been quite exceptional for Thuraya Fadly, who is engaged in what is deemed a male-dominated profession in a "very conservative" region.

Divorced and a mother of a six-year-old son, the 33-year-old woman had defied many societal norms when she decided to open her own tyre shop in Sama Sarhan in Mafraq, some 80km northeast of Amman.

"I wanted to start a business that is guaranteed to flourish. I found out that tyre shops are missing in seven villages, including Sama Sarhan," Fadly told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday.

The idea to initiate her own business was prompted by the mother's need for independence and ensuring a better life for her son.

"I receive a total of JD20 in monthly support from my ex-husband for my son. Although my family's financial situation is not bad, I started to feel like a burden," said Fadly, who has a secondary education degree.

Her efforts to secure support landed her with the UNDP Emergency Project (3x6 Approach), which is funded by the Regional Development and Protection Programme and the World Food Programme in cooperation with the National Microfinance Bank.

"I consulted my family with the idea of opening a tyre sale and repair shop. They supported the idea after some hesitation. My brother agreed to help me manage the business," she said.

Thanks to training courses she attended through the UNDP and the financial support she received, Fadly is now an owner of a fully-operational tyre shop in the downtown of Sama Sarhan.

"UNDP has paved the way for me to become a businesswoman. The training workshops have sharpened my ideas and skills," noted Fadly, who insists on offering her clients the option to pay cash or through monthly instalments.

"Winning customers' trust is more important for me than making money. It is true that the profit I make now is nominal, but I am thinking long term," she highlighted.

As a divorced woman who is running an unfamiliar profession for women in her society, Fadly said customers still show their surprise when they see her managing the shop.

"My brother and another employee stay at the shop most of the time, but I make sure to be present when I can," she said.

On her future plan, Fadly is now focusing on developing her businesses and looking for funding channels to support her endeavours.

"Usama's Shop will continue to accommodate the local community's needs of automobile services," she said.

By Laila Azzeh

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