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New ideas for a traditional craft

Mariem im Video-Interview.

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New ideas for a traditional craft

My name is Mariem. I’m 29 years old and married with a daughter. I’d like to be a role model for her just like my mother is for me. I learned weaving from my mother when I was a child, and this gave me the basis to start a business later on. I got help with this from the project “Agripreneur”.

I come from El Kef, which is a town in north-western Tunisia. Even early on, the weaving loom played a major role in my life. My mother used it to provide for the family, because my father died when I was just nine years old. I was the oldest child so I helped my mother with her work, and now she’s helping me with my business. We women are there for each other.

Eine junge Frau sitzt an einem Webstuhl.
Mariem at a loom

Natural wool from the region

After school I studied French, but I couldn’t use my degree to find a suitable job. So once again I helped my mother, and improved my weaving skills. Then something struck me: all the weaving mills near us got their wool from far away. They travelled for hours and spent a lot of money to get it. I wanted to be the solution to this problem. So I decided to process and sell the untreated wool myself – all in organic quality using natural dyes. My motto is to provide quality at a reasonable price.

The “Agripreneur” project helped me to put my ideas into practice. It teaches young people from rural regions of Tunisia about starting a business. I learned about it on Facebook, and found out more when the project was presented at an information stand in El Kef. And eventually I applied for funding.

Eine junge und eine ältere Frau stehen nebeneinander und blicken in die Kamera.
Mariem (left) and her mother

Coaching and advanced training

It offered exactly the kind of help that I needed. Taking part meant I had a coach who advised me on how I could develop my project idea. I took part in lots of advanced training in market research and marketing, for example. I also learned how to create a business plan and calculate my budget.

The “Agripreneur” project also helped me financially. This meant that I could buy two sewing machines, as well as equipment for dyeing the wool and furnishings for my studio. In addition to the wool, I also sell woven products like Kilim rugs under my label “Margoum décoration intérieure”. I now have four female employees and want to expand my business. It means I can create both jobs and high-quality goods in my region. And I’m continuing our traditional handicraft.

As of 03/2021

The opportunities for advice and assistance described here are offered as part of “Returning to New Opportunities”.

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The “Agripreneur” project offered exactly the sort of help that I needed.

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