WISE II Entrepreneur Profile: Fida
Fida's Business: Happy Kids - Nazlet Zeid Preschool Fida’, comes from Ya’bad, a small village 20 km west of Jenin, Palestine. In 2009, with the construction of the separation wall and expansion of nearby settlements, the village became increasingly isolated. That is when Fida’, realizing the need for a safe place for children to learn and play, opened up the first preschool in the area. The community was very supportive of the idea and offered assistance by providing a space at a discounted rate in the nearby village of Nazlet Zeid. After realizing the importance of the school, the community took it a step further and donated additional land. With a grant from the Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association, Asala, Fida’ was able to turn the space into an operational preschool. Once complete, Happy Kids-Nazlet Zeid Preschool became formally recognized by the Ministry of Education in Jenin. Now children from four neighboring villages also attend the preschool.
Fida’ does not believe that she is a traditional woman based on society’s standards. She went back to college at a later age, graduating from Al Quds Open University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in History. She is constantly looking for ways to educate herself so that she is not reliant on the males in her life. Fida’ wants her preschool to stand out from the rest in Palestine. She is continually taking courses to keep up to date on educational trends. She does not have any biological children and considers each one of her students as one of her own.
A significant barrier that Fida’ must endure is not metaphorical but an actual physical barrier: checkpoints. Between the preschool and the village of Ya’bad, a checkpoint has been established by the Israeli military. Due to the hours of operation, which are inconsistent, children from Ya’bad are unable to access the preschool before 7:00 AM and must wait until after 1:00 PM to be transported back home. There have been several occasions when children have been denied access at the checkpoint or it has been closed altogether.
Fida joined the WISE II program at Tomorrow's Youth Organization because she realized it was different from other business related programs offered to entrepreneurs by offering a holistic approach. The psychosocial sessions that were provided further substantiated her self-worth and confidence in her business. The business and financial plan she created during the business development sessions with the Small Enterprise Center (SEC) provided her with the tools to make the right decisions for her business. The spectrum of professionals available at TYO has allowed her to gain mentorship from leading educators. Fida' continues to learn from every session that is offered by the WISE II program and looks forward to broadening her network and relationship with fellow female entrepreneurs.
– Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator