WISE II Entrepreneur Profile: Falasteen
Falasteen's Business: Play and Learn Educational Tools While working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Education at Al Qud’s Open University, Falesteen turned a class project into a business idea. For a final project at university, Falasteen created an educational tool that utilized play as the main component of learning. This past year, she further developed this idea while tutoring children with learning disabilities with World Vision International. The organization, keen on her incorporation of play into education, provided her with financial assistance to create prototypes of her educational tools. The positive feedback from coworkers, classmates and faculty members has been overwhelming, and inspired Falesteen to pursue this business venture.
Raised in the village of Quseen in Nablus, Palestine, Falesteen who graduated in 2014 always wanted to attend an arts university but was unable due to financial restrictions. She feels her new business venture, although it is still in its informal stages, is therapeutic because it allows her to incorporate her creative passion for the arts.
Falesteen heard about the WISE II program at Tomorrow's Youth Organization at a youth employment conference at An Najah National University, where she met TYO’s Psychosocial Program Manager, Suhad Jabi. In fact, Falasteen feels that the most important lessons she has learned through this process have been from Suhad’s psychosocial sessions with the aspiring entrepreneurs. Falesteen has learned that she should not just accept the cultural norms that place restrictions on women. Defying these norms has been her biggest challenge in becoming a successful businesswoman. When she first decided that she wanted to work, her male family members would not accept it. They offered to pay her an equivalent salary to sit at home idly. Falesteen rejected the offer and was insistent in her desire to work. In the end, she feels that they only accepted the idea because she was working with children rather than men. Falesteen continues to question these gender norms, acknowledging that they are not in her best interest. She has gained tremendous self-worth in the process and realizes that her future possibilities are up to her.
Falesteen has grown professionally as well, learning about the necessary tools such as a solid business plan and the importance of marketing. She is looking forward to the apprenticeship phase of the WISE II program, where she hopes she will gain further insight of the market needs in the Palestine. When not involved in the seminars and courses provided by the WISE II program, Falesteen volunteers with TYO’s early childhood educational program. Working with the target audience of her business provides her with continuous inspiration and concepts for future product ideas.
– Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator