“For 18 years, I used to take my pocket money from my dad”, says Hanan. Now 35, she has always nurtured great expectations, planning to become a career woman with no need for pocket money.
She started early, working for a Swiss company so she could pay her college fees while studying chemical engineering. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” she explains. Hers has had its share of challenges: She had to leave her job at a chemical products factory because of allergies, and a financial downturn meant she had to leave her next post, as a sales officer at an advertising company.
The director of a major marketing company quickly offered her a job, but the routine work environment, as well as her frustration with her brief period of unemployment, prompted her to explore new ideas. After consulting with many people, she came up with the idea of establishing a magazine.
Joheart is the first Arabic magazine in Jordan that deals with health education and awareness. Published every other month, it includes writing by doctors of different specialties, as well as medical advertisements and an index of hospitals and specialists. It aims to provide useful medical information and marketing solutions to enhance Jordan’s prospects in medical and curative tourism.
Publishing a magazine hasn’t been easy. At first, she had no savings and none of the technical requirements to start up a magazine, and the director of the company proved hesitant and risk averse. After three editions were published, all the resources were depleted, and Hanan’s partner, an advertising-company director, suggested ceasing publication entirely.
Hanan heard about the microfinance programme of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) from her eldest brother. “My visit to the UNRWA MD lifted a huge burden from my shoulders”, she says. It also enabled her to start again, this time on her own.
With her first loan, of JOD 1,000 (US$ 1,412), she rented an office on Khalidi Street. A year later, a second loan of JOD 2,000 (US$ 2,824) enabled the purchase of a computer for designing. A third helped her hire more employees, and the final loan took the company online, registering it also under the ‘Saudiheart’ trademark, to be marketed in Saudi Arabia. In March 2014, the magazine will celebrate its seventh anniversary.
“I consider UNRWA a partner in my success!” Hanan says, adding the lesson she has learned over the years: “Success does not come by chance, but will come to those who are determined, those who maintain good faith and self-confidence, those who persevere, work hard and take action to achieve their dreams!”