From TYO Classroom To Her Very Own: Catching Up with Entrepreneur Nuhood

Nuhood Yahya is a former participant in TYO's WISE Program, a previous women's entrepreneurship project between TYO and the Paltel Group Foundatoin that ran from July 2012 to July 2013. Originally, Nuhood joined WISE after attempting to open her own business in 2011, but facing a lack of capital and feeling as though she needed more training to succeed. After a year's worth of coaching, individual services, and confidence-building activities, Nuhood took what she learned in TYO classrooms and applied it in her own classrooms- as a female entrepreneur launching the only educational center in the Al-Araqa village near Jenin, Palestine. Further, Nuhood was also a recipient of a $5,000 grant selectively awarded at the program's end by TYO & PGF- and in exchange for the funding, Nuhood was required to deliver 100 hours of volunteer service to TYO. Nuhood's School

While Nuhood's education center is successfully in the startup phases, TYO is committed to providing holistic, long-term support to female entrepreneurs throughout all business stages of development. That's why the Women's Empowerment Team at TYO recently visited Nuhood's village, and spent time at her education center to both check in on her progress, and see the creative, socially-focused method she's utilizing to accomplish her 100 hours of volunteer service. In the interview below, check out some of the Women's Empowerment Team's conversation with Nuhood.

Nuhood's kids

 I) Tell us about your business.

It's an educational center located in the Al-Araqa village- the only one in the entire village- that provides homework help, tutoring, and extra learning support to both primary school students as well as high school students. Since there's no other centers like this in our area- not even a library- it's the only place that students can come to improve their studies and focus on specific academic subjects.

II) What's been the greatest success since you started your business?

I had a dream for a long time to have a center like this- I'd tried before to launch it, but dreamed of being successful, earning my own income, and providing a good service for children in my community. I knew how difficult it was to do homework or schoolwork when you didn't feel like you had support. Now, I believe my greatest success is that I own this center- it's registered in my name, and I manage it entirely.

III) What's the greatest challenge to your business?

In my village, it's not acceptable for a woman to work in any field other than working as a teacher- certainly not owning one's own business. But I am confident that I can- and will- do this, and show other women and girls in my community that they must achieve their dreams.

IV) How did the grant from TYO & PGF help you?

It helped me take the business to the next level by purchasing the basic supplies I needed, and fixing up our location to be more equipped to serve children- such as securing books, some technology, and making a friendly environment. To complete my service hours that are required for the grant, I'm providing scholarships for local students who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford additional educational help- they can come to my center for free as a "TYO Scholarship Recipient". I worked with local schools to determine the most eligible kids for this scholarship. It's great to give children this opportunity, and it's also been a big help in my marketing, as more parents have heard about my center through this.

V) How do you see your business growing in the next year?

I hope to develop my business further, becoming not just a center for children to study the subjects from their schools, but also becoming a place where they can gain awareness about other topics like health and critical thinking. Also, I hope to expand my location so children can have a safe space to play outside and learn sports.

VI) What's your advice for future female entrepreneurs?

Hold on to your idea, and keep trying to implement it- but know that just an idea is not enough to achieve your goals. You should prepare yourself with trainings both before you start your business, and as you are launching it, so you are making smart decisions and are informed about business principles. I hope my success story as a female entrepreneur will encourage other women to accomplish their goals- I've hired four other women already at my center!

-Cayce is TYO's Women's Empowerment Coordinator. Inas Badawi, TYO Women's Empowerment Program Assistant, translated this interview.