A loan of $1,600 helped to buy new upgraded tools for her business.

Jamila's story

Jamila is a 49 year-old widow and mother of two children. Jamila lives and works in Tyre. She opened a small bakery in 1997, specialized in making manaqish (Arabic: مناقيش‎ manāqīsh; sometimes called معجنات mu‘ajjanāt 'pastry'), which is a popular Levantine food consisting of dough topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat. Similar to a pizza, it can be sliced or folded, and it can either be served for breakfast or lunch. The word manaqish is the plural of the Arabic word manqūshah (from the root verb naqasha 'to sculpt, carve out'), meaning that after the dough has been rolled flat, it is pressed by the fingertips to create little dips for the topping to lie in.

Traditionally, Levantine women would bake dough in a communal oven in the morning, to provide their family with their daily bread needs, and would prepare smaller portions of dough with different toppings for breakfast.

Jamila has 16 years in this field. She started working when her husband died and she found herself alone and responsible for two children. Jamila is a hard worker, she's a person with good reputation and all of her customers and friends speak about her good manners and her shyness. They also described her courage when struggling to prove herself in front of her children and society.

Jamila is working on expanding her shop through adding upgraded machines that will help increase her income in less time. She is also willing to do some small decoration to her shop.

Jamila will also buy a big tent that will expand her working area, and will be used to start a new business. She plans to start a hookah cafe. Also known as a waterpipe, a hookah is a single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based) instrument for smoking in which the smoke is cooled and filtered by passing through water. The tobacco smoked is referred to as narghile or shisha (sheesha) in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. According to Cyril Elgood, who does not mention his source, it was Abu’l-Fatḥ Gīlānī (d. 1588), a Persian physician at the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar I, who “first passed the smoke of tobacco through a small bowl of water to purify and cool the smoke and thus invented the hubble-bubble or hookah.” However, a quatrain of Ahlī Šīrāzī (d. 1535) refers to the use of the ḡalyān, thus dating its use at least as early as the time of Ṭahmāsp I (1524–76). It seems, therefore, that Abu’l-Fatḥ Gīlānī should be credited with the introduction of the ḡalyān, already in use in Persia, to India. Smoking the hookah has gained popularity, especially in the Middle East and is gaining popularity in North America, South America, Europe and Australia.

This new business will provide her with extra income helpful for her family, Jamila has been a borrower in good standing at Al Majmoua for ten cycles. Each loan was requested to improve a specific part of her business. She hopes to continue expanding her business.

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