Islamic Relief has joined with Tunisian communities to mark the completion of a life-changing livelihoods scheme.

The closing event was held to celebrate the end of our successful livelihoods project in Kebili, in south west Tunisia. The ceremony, which was held at the end of January in Douz town, brought Islamic Relief staff together with local people, civil society representatives and government officials.

Project beneficiaries gave feedback on the project, which included providing vocational training to help local people to build brighter futures in a governorate in which unemployment tops the national average.

Building community trust

Abdelmonem Ben Ahmed trained as an electrician through the project.

Abdelmonem Ben Ahmed trained as an electrician through the project.

“At first, we did not trust the offer [of help]” said Abdelmonem Ben Ahmed, 30, who was unemployed before he received training as an electrician. “But when the Islamic Relief team got closer to us, we moved on confidently. Islamic Relief Tunisia has fulfilled its promises.”

The project also offered a chance to gain skills in plumbing, tailoring and handicrafts.

“I am truly lucky to benefit from such training and get a sewing machine for free,” said Hana Chouchan, who learned tailoring alongside other girls who left school at a young age.

“It proved to be a successful experience, and I hope it will be offered to more girls,” said Massaouda Ben Mohammed, one of 22 young women to undertake our handicrafts training. Project beneficiaries already have plans to set up small businesses.

Tunisia livelihoods closing ceremony 2015 (2)_opt

Islamic Relief staff with the Governor of Kebili.

“It is time for local government institutions to provide similar training for other girls,” agreed the handicrafts course leader, as the head of the Kebili Vocational Training Centre emphasised the positive experience of working with Islamic Relief.

The Regional Employment Commissioner underlined his commitment to building on the project’s success, promising a monthly stipend to help trainees to support themselves, and fabric for tailoring students.

Concrete success

Other government officials, including the head of social solidarity, Mohammed Jdidi, also weighed-in with their evaluation of the project.

“The project started with a difficult proposition” said Mr Faiiz, the Agricultural Commissioner “But thanks to the serious effort and commitment… the idea has crystallized into concrete success.”

The local Governor summarised on behalf of communities that have benefitted from the Islamic Relief project, which is the first of its kind in the region: “I thank you very much for taking the risk and making it to the top. Your organisation is famous for such success.”

As the ceremony drew to a close, vocational toolkits packed with items such as sewing machines, safety boots and electrical supplies were given to beneficiaries.

The project is amongst a range of schemes being delivered by Islamic Relief Tunisia, as part of its work to lift people out of poverty and improve standards of living in the country.