Lebanon: Stepping into Sustainability

October 28, 2019

Women received sewing machines after completing vocational training in sewing.

IOCC’s community kitchens across Lebanon are a long-running part of an initiative to improve access to nutritious food in underserved areas of the country—serving both Lebanese and refugee families.

As this effort wrapped up recently, IOCC offered vocational training to 45 of the Syrian and Lebanese women, most of whom had received meals from the kitchens, and some of whom had worked in them. Sewing and food processing courses equipped the women to work from home or in their communities. Depending on the course, participants received either sewing machines and supplies or cooking kits to help support the women’s endeavors.

Participants in the sewing training learned to make blouses, skirts, and other articles of clothing from scratch.

“I can now do things myself, such as fixing my children’s clothes,” said Sourayya, a 35-year-old mother of five from Syria. “Most of the time we receive donated clothes that don’t always fit them…. I want to start helping my neighbors fix their clothes, too, and I hope I can earn some income.”

The kitchens themselves, which are owned by local community groups, received a three-day business-development training covering marketing, budgeting, and proposal writing. Afterward, each submitted a proposal and a business plan to IOCC, which granted each kitchen a set of equipment plus seed money to help launch a business and provide an income to each community group. That, in turn, will allow these groups to continue serving people in need nearby.