In the words of Howaida Ahmed: "I was confident that I would achieve my dream one day, and today I am proud of my ability to support my family with the household expenses."

Howaida Abbas Ahmed, 41 years old from the city of Al-Bayadiyah in Luxor. Mrs. Abbas is married and has 4 children, a daughter and three boys. Her husband works in the tourism field in Hurghada. Abbas is one of the beneficiaries of the national Women’s Citizenship Initiative "Your ID, Your Rights". The National Women’s Citizenship Initiative "Your ID, You Rights" of the National Council for Women has been underway since 2011 and is in part supported by UN Women through the generous support of the Government of the United Kingdom. The Women’s Citizenship Initiative seeks to support women’s access to national ID cards and raise their awareness about the services available so that they can perform their social, economic, and political role in society.

Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"When I first heard about the Women’s Citizenship Initiative in Luxor from one of my friends and her experience of getting a national ID card, I decided to visit the National Council for Women branch in the governorate to apply for a national ID. My journey to apply for an ID started when I realized that my community did not have an easily accessible market that provides furniture and household items at reasonable prices. Usually, women and girls in my area go to the markets, which are located far away, in order to be able to choose from a wide variety of goods. This requires a lot of time and effort. I saw a business opportunity there.

I contacted the rural woman leader in our area and informed her of my desire to obtain a national ID through the Council’s branch in Luxor. She took my data and told me that she was collecting names for the NCW of women who were eligible and wishing to receive national ID cards. She also told me that after collecting such data, they will set an appointment to submit the required documents and to take a photo for the ID. A month later, I received a call to inform me of the appointment, and approximately three weeks after this, l I received my national ID.

After obtaining my ID for free, I decided to open a small business in my house, which is selling home supplies and furniture for the women and girls in my area, allowing them to pay in installments. And I make the women aware that to pay for the products in installments, they must have a national ID[1], and I advise them to contact the rural women leader to support their access to ID if they don’t have them. I applied for a “good loan” -from a charitable organization because it was an interest-free loan- and that was the first step in achieving my dream. I succeeded in opening my first ever project and my daughter is helping me in the buying and selling process. I go once a month by taxi to buy all my goods from the wholesale markets and I prepared a room in my house to put these goods in an organized way to draw the attention of customers. My daughter helps me a lot in the organization of the goods, and sometimes my sister-in-law offers help as well.

To expand my project, the National Council for Women helped me by offering a computer course through which I learned how to search on the Internet to find out the latest tastes, colors, and good materials. I used to photograph the goods and put prices on them and send them to all my relatives and friends on WhatsApp.

I was confident that one day I would achieve my dream and today I am proud of my ability to support my family with the household expenses. I was always keen on having conversations with my customers to know more about their taste and financial ability so that I could help them as much as possible. I believe that if I had good relations with my customers, my business will grow.”

[1] A national ID card is required to complete any purchase by installments.

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