Interview with Ms. Houwayda Charaf El Dine

Houwayda is yet another one of the 20 women currently participating in the WEL project in North Lebanon and below we share with you our interview with Houwayda!

What is your personal background?

My name is Houwayda Charaf El Dine and I live with my family in a small village called Berkayel in Akkar. I have a B.A in French Literature and I work as a teacher in one of the schools in Akkar.

What is your business idea?

Before talking about my dream I need to clarify some of the issues. There is an urgent need in the rural areas in Akkar for development in different sectors, and this need is directly related to the absence of the government due to many pressures and other concerned national issues. We see that a lot of women in these areas did not complete their education and they stay at home, with no work.

Thus, doing projects in the region will reduce many of the problems faced by these villages and will create jobs for both women and men. Consequently, the project that I am planning to do is related to food. It is a medium-sized enterprise, but with an economic feasibility. Since I was young, I have enjoyed preparing food. This hobby has pushed me to buy cooking books in order to have new recipes. This gave me the knowledge, especially that I have bought books in Arabic and French, about old and new recipes. In addition, my deep knowledge in hygiene and nutrition issues as well as participating in several trainings on food processing were the key factors in doing a catering project with special packaging in order to distribute the product to supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, hospitals and related institutions.

What kind of experience do you have?

I should note here that I was selected as a leader women by the US Embassy, that was a push to work more and more on both my experience and skills. I have participated in several trainings on different topics such as women and children rights, advocacy, GMP, handicrafts, food processing, communication skills, marketing and management, also I have participated in more than 30 expo which enhanced both my negotiation and communication skills. Moreover, I have planned and organized 5 exhibitions in my village. In addition, I have participated in several field visits to factories and handcrafts shops in order to be introduced to new issues. My most recent training is with TYO, CBFW and RMF at the BIAT center.

What is your dream or ambition?

The above-mentioned remarkable experiences are directly linked to being an ambitious woman that likes working, and rejects the middle solutions when solving any problem. Also, I always seek to be special and different, and I am interested in other cultures and how different people deal with different issues.

Good luck, Houwayda, and all 20 women of the WEL project!