Bright spot in Palestinian economy: more women opening businesses
It's a rainy day in the West Bank village of Ajoul, and when the kids get out of school a few dart into Myassar Issa's mini-market to buy sweets before running home up the muddy hills leading out of the valley.
They're part of the steady stream of customers that have helped Mrs. Issa grow her shop since opening it with a micro-finance loan of $1,400 two years ago. Today she has repaid that loan and gotten another, doubled her merchandise, and gained a new sense of independence as the family breadwinner. Her husband has two other wives and can't provide for her and her three sons, who are eager to marry but don't have the financial means to do so.
"I could either sit and say, 'He has to pay, he has to pay,' and starve and let my children starve, or act. I had to act," says Issa, surrounded by stacks of Pringles, diapers, and a TV playing Egyptian soap operas. "I don't care what my in-laws say, all I care about is saving money so my sons can get married. When a person has an objective, nothing can break that person."