Humanity Voice - Um Suhaib making pastries, a story of success and perseverance

 

 

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  Um Suhaib making pastries, a story of success and perseverance
Nablus, By Atif Douglas, for humanityvoice.net - 2008-04-04

In her modest home in Nablus, Um Suhaib is recording a new success story for Palestinian women. Like countless other women, she is the wife of a Palestinian prisoner. Tayseer Imran, an Imam who was arrested by the Israeli Occupation Army in October 2006. He is currently behind bars.

She begins her day at early dawn and starts making pastries to support her family, with the income she generates, she hopes to keep her four children's lives as normal as possible under the circumstances.

From her home:

In the absence of her husband, Um Suhaib's home-based business became her only source of income which she depended on to care for her children and even pay for college fees and tuitions. She used a spare room in her house as the bakery and started making her pastries. Soon enough the word got around and orders started coming in while maintaining the highest quality possible. Um Suhaib later commented that the absence of her husband (the sole breadwinner in the family) and the responsibility of raising four children presented her with a challenge. She said that since the first Intifada, her husband was made fugitive and was arrested a few times. The first time he was arrested was in 1990 and remained in prison until 1994. With the Alaqsa Intifada of September 2000, the Israeli Occupation Army began hunting for her husband. He was arrested and then released. Since then, her husband has been arrested a few times more. Um Suhaib said that due to the frequent arrests of her husband, she began thinking of making pastries and selling them to neighboring stores and company employees, something that soon met steady and increasing demands until it became enough to fully support her family, and even send one of her children to college.

Personal efforts:

Thus Um Suhaib became an example of innovation and sacrifice among local women. She recalls that the idea started when her guests always complimented her pastries and even suggested participating in local women exhibitions, and thus was the beginning. She adds that initially she bought an oven with money she had put away for her kids, and began selling pastries to neighbors, friends, and relatives. Um Suhaib recalls participating in local women exhibitions and soon she was to buy another oven and orders started coming from local stores.

Um Suhaib said that throughout the years she was not alone, her husband was always calling her and promising to do his best once he is released from Israeli prison again. She no longer relies on his stipend, even when released, she promises to continue on until she sees to it that her family live their lives in dignity. Realizing the success of her story, Um Suhab thanked God, and her ingenuity which led her on the path to success.

Assigning roles:

After years of her husband being away, all family members began doing their part in preparing, baking, and selling the pastries. Suhaib, her eldest son recalled the first days: "It was my responsibility to deal with customers and deliver orders to homes, shops, and schools. We really appreciated all what our mother had done to keep us alive and keep us together. She (his mother) was determined to see us through college and see that we live in dignity despite the earlier hardships due to our father's absence."

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