New initiative launched in Lebanon for rural women skilled in handicrafts

The newly created initiative SheMinLebnen, supported by The Blessing Foundation in partnership with UN Women and the UN Global Compact, aims to support rural women skilled in handicrafts to develop their expertise, create products and then sell them in Lebanon and to the world through an online platform.

On May 2, 2018, HE Mr. Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon, opened the doors of his office, the Grand Serail, to launch The Blessing Foundation’s initiative SheMinLebnen. This initiative which celebrates the talents of rural women in Lebanon, will provide women with an opportunity to further refine their skills and a platform to market their products in Lebanon and internationally. By working directly with rural women, SheMinLebnen aims to challenge stereotypes, support their economic self-sufficiency and empower women to bring about positive change in their communities.

The name of the initiative, SheMinLebnen is a combination of both Arabic and English; the word “She” refers to a woman or a girl in English and also means “something” in Arabic. SheMinLebnen therefore could mean “Something from Lebanon” or “She is from Lebanon”, and, in both cases, it champions Lebanese women’s identity and creativity. The energetic and talented rural women who will be selected to participate in this initiative will benefit from mentorship by five internationally-renowned Lebanese designers – namely Reem Acra, Samer Alameen, Nada Debs, Rabih Kayrouz and Raouf Rifai. With the support of these mentors, the participants will be able to refine their design and production skills, upgrade their creations, and make them marketable to a wider audience.

The Blessing Foundation event was organized in partnership with the Government of Lebanon, UN Women and with the support of the UN Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL). The launch brought together Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, Ministry Directors-General, and representatives of the United Nations, including Mr. Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women for the Arab States, and Ms. Begona Lasagabaster, Special Representative of the UN Women Regional Director in Lebanon, as well as representatives of other international organizations, diplomats and members of civil society organizations and academia.

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