Palestine refugee Ala’edeen Al-Shalabi (32) runs a workshop for maintaining air conditioning units in Al-Shalaleh in Aqaba. A loan from UNRWA helped him buy new tools and remodel his workshop. The loan also helped him win first prize at the 2010 Aqaba Development Award for small and special enterprises.
Ala’edeen was one of 50 small business owners who entered the competition, open to borrowers from loan providers in Jordan, by submitting a description of the project he manages. “I took JD3500 from UNRWA’s micro-credit community support programme in November 2009 and only eight months later I won this award, which amounts to JD 2000. It covers about half the loan,” said Ala’edeen with a big smile on his face.
Ala’edeen has great hopes to expand his workshop activities to cater for more demanding businesses such as manufacturing small refrigerators and water coolers. This will not be possible without increasing his capital through loans and his own hard work.
“Being a father to three children is not an easy job and I work hard to give my family security,” Ala’edeen explained. He added: “While I help myself, I help others as well. Three technicians are now working with me in my workshop. They are husbands and fathers. They have to bring bread to their families’ tables.”
In addition to education and health programmes, UNRWA runs the relief and social services programme in its five areas of operations. One of this programme’s main activities is to give small consumer loans to vulnerable refugees, mainly women, young people and refugees with disabilities, who often lack access to formal financial resources.
The programme helps to increase economic opportunities for poor refugees and their families in order to help them become financially stable. Some of these families are no longer dependent on relief assistance provided by the Agency because of the availability of micro-credit loans.
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