Last year, Kalimat al Mashari enrolled in a unique job-training program at AMIDEAST/Oman designed to enhance the work skills and self-confidence of Omani women like her — high school graduates from underserved backgrounds who are unemployed.
For Kalimat, the training was what she needed to take the challenging step of starting her own business. And this summer, she returned to AMIDEAST to take a follow-up course in entrepreneurship — a program that she credits with giving her “the courage and self-esteem I need to run my business successfully.”
Nearly 60 women have benefited from AMIDEAST’s partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands to reach out to underserved women in Oman to empower them through a combination of basic job-skills training, career guidance, and — this summer — leadership and entrepreneurship components.
That the initiative is meeting a need was clear soon after the first program was announced in fall 2008. Some 180 women applied, requiring a careful selection process to fill the small number of available seats — a class of 30 women, who ranged in age from 19 to 36 and came from the regions of Al Dakhliya, Al Batinah, Al Dahira and Muscat. Moreover, class attendance was 100 percent throughout the 320 hours covering intensive English language and IT skills training, workplace etiquette, project work, field trips, cv-writing workshops, mock interviews, a career fair, and guest speakers and interaction with professionals in a variety of sectors.