UNICEF supports Syrian youth to reach their full potential

While studying towards a degree in history, the young entrepreneur recently started an online gift shop where she uses her talents to create unique handmade and recycled items.

Sandra Awad Yasmine Saker
a girl
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Muhannad Al-Asadi

15 July 2019

While studying towards a degree in history, the young entrepreneur recently started an online gift shop where she uses her talents to create unique handmade and recycled items.

“A few years ago, I bought some citrus fruits and arranged them in a bouquet, just like flowers, and presented them to my friend who was sick. This unique gift was the beginning of my passion in life!”

Only a few years back, Hiba and her family were forced to flee their home in Sbeineh in rural Damascus as violence escalated, leaving behind their entire lives, to live in Damascus for five years before returning to their hometown. Despite the challenges they have been through, Hiba never forgot her passion for art.  

“I remember watching my father draw portraits as a little girl,” recalls Hiba. “He is a great artist; he always encouraged me to express myself through painting and handicrafts.”

During her displacement, Hiba volunteered in different NGOs working with children. This helped her further develop her artistic talent as most of the activities included drawing and handicrafts.

When Hiba found out about the livelihoods, seed-funding and entrepreneurship programme supported by UNICEF through IECD ( Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement), she immediately signed up for the 10-day workshop designed to help Syrian youth cope with the impact of eight years of conflict and reach their full potential in life.

Since the beginning of the year and thanks to generous contributions from Canada and Luxembourg, almost 72,000 children and young people aged 10 to 24 benefited from extensive training on entrepreneurship, civic engagement and life skills, of whom 117 youth-led initiatives received seed-funding to turn their projects into reality.

“The workshop gave me insights on how to become a successful business owner despite my young age. It also helped me arrange all the ideas I was using randomly in my online shop into a more professional way. “

Hiba was one of the youth who received funding after submitting a compelling business proposal.

“I can finally realize my dream and open my own gift shop, where I get to meet with customers in person,” she continues.

Hiba has already started renovating an old store in Sbeineh and is planning the shop opening in a few weeks.

“I am so proud of myself and feel grateful to have gotten this opportunity to make my dream a reality,” says Hiba. “I hope that as many Syrian youth as possible can attend this training to follow their ambitions and achieve their dreams,”.