By Hind Shraydeh; Edited by Katie Hackett
When Raja's husband fell on his back at work, everything changed for their family. The injury rendered him unable to work, and the 34-year-old mom of three became responsible for their livelihood.
"This accident changed our life and my destiny," says Raja'. "The house that we [had] started to build in our town became an impossible dream."
Instead, the family of five lived in a small house with just one bedroom for everyone, relying on money from relatives to keep them going. Raja' found some work styling her neighbours' hair for a nominal wage and her oldest son found a job
"I worked with my cousin on his tobacco field during the summer, so I could help my mother a little at least," says Habeeb, 15.
Raja' became an active member of her village women's centre in West Jenin. She started working in the canteen, where World Vision was helping enhance healthy food options in schools while giving women a source of income, and took part-time hours in a hair salon on the side.
When World Vision announced a hairdressing training opportunity for women the next year, Raja' almost couldn't believe it.
"I was so excited because I like this field of work and I have the talent for it," she says. "I was afraid that I would not be able to afford it, but it was for free except for the transportation fees."
Help a hardworking family provide for their children. Invest in a small business.
After she finished the six month course, Raja' rented a small space to open her own salon. Because of her hard work, talent and good reputation, the business grew and her family's living situation started to improve.
"My mom is the best in her field," says Habeeb. "She was the first in the training class and World Vision chose to support her with new equipment and tools for the salon."
"The first money I received from my first client was about $12 USD," remembers Raja'. "[It] was like a treasure to me. My family was very happy with that money, especially as it wasn't from other people or a loan. It was our money." Through their struggles, Raja's family has become more unified and patient, and after years living in a cramped house, they finally moved into their comfortable new home.
"World Vision has shown its grace toward me personally and toward all women like me," says Raja'. "In my darkest days, World Vision was there for me, like the lifeline that pulled us from the dark to the light and to a brighter future."