August, 2016 to July, 2017

Supportet by: Small Grants Program of the US Embassy in Tirana

Implemented by: Regional Development Agency (RDA) Korca

Project purpose

The “I am Independent” project purpose is to empower, integrate and train women entrepreneurs coming from the Roma and Egyptian minorities, in order to help them towards success, better management orientation and ultimate independence.

Our project aims to break this cycle of dependence, starting with potential role models for the entire RaE community; minority women who have started their own business amidst difficulties and lack of proper business administration knowledge.

  •  The project was successful in achieving primarily its main purpose. All women from Roma and Egyptian minorities involved in the project received training sessions that enabled them towards success, better management orientation and as result integrated, in order to become an example of success in their own communities and wider, becoming thus independent and self-sufficient.
  • A better communication was possible between the local authorities and the RaE women. They now know what are the legal and fiscal business procedures which makes it easier the communication in respective offices. By being organized and trained in lobbying for their rights structured in groups, they were ready to address their problems and issues in these institutions and handle a good and efficient communication with local institutions.  
  • The project succeeded in training the women involved in project. Frequently they have no knowledge and experience in customer service, marketing, communication and even proper sanitation. And most of them had absolutely no knowledge on taxes, fiscal or legal systems. Therefore, a big deal of information on the above mentioned issues was made available for them, through training sessions on these specific topics. It was very useful and profitable for them and the environment they operate. By implanting these concepts in them, not only they were able to prosper, but continue to cultivate the same attributes which brought about the first steps of success.
  •  It put an end to discrimination and prejudices creating thus role models and success stories in their communities. By transforming them into role models not only strengthened them, but improved the overall wellbeing and intellectual capacities they posses.
  • Opportunities were created for them on how to start or run a new business; they learned how to use the appropriate tools and spaces to grow and prosper.
  • They were empowered towards self-sufficiency, business success and independency. Social and financial independence helps them in becoming less prone to abuse, violence and gender persecution. It not only inspired their community but it showed the other women as well who may take similar initiatives that prejudice can be overcome and independence is possible and achievable through practical means.
  • The project provided to Roma and Egyptian women the practical tools and knowledge to create new products, such as textile and clothes recycling; these are practices that generate high demand mostly because they hardly exist here or not at all.  
  • Lastly, by being empowered and provided with basic necessary information and skills, these women are able to become trainers themselves, teaching other women like them in the future. It would change their mentalities and improve their living.