Twenty women have successfully completed a PDO-funded vocational training scheme to design and make products using recycled paper.
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The women, seven of whom are deaf, will now be able to earn a living from selling environmentally friendly goods, such as office products, notebooks, picture frames, boxes and bags, as well as pass on their knowledge to others.
PDO teamed up with the Omani Women’s Association (OWA) Al Seeb branch in Muscat to run the one-month course and also bought equipment for a workshop there where the ladies can make their merchandise.
The scheme was run as part of PDO’s Banat Oman social enterprise which has so far provided vocational training for hundreds of women from low-income backgrounds in skills such as tailoring, embroidery and dairy product manufacture.
PDO External Affairs and Value Creation Director Abdul-Amir Al Ajmi said: “I am delighted that these women have taken this opportunity to learn new practical and theoretical skills to find employment or start their own micro businesses by making recycled paper products.
“At the same time, they can also share their knowledge with others who can also hopefully go on to make a living in the burgeoning ‘green’ economy.
“This training and the new workshop highlight how our Banat Oman project’s successful collaboration with OWA is playing a fantastic role in female empowerment and employment across Oman.
“PDO is a keen advocate of sustainable community development and environmental stewardship and this vocational training programme is all about putting those words into action.”
Trainee Ibtisam bint Hamdan Al Farsi said: “This workshop has introduced me to a new world of crafts and printing, utilising materials from the environment. I extend my thanks to OWA and PDO for their support and believe this project will be sustainable and be further developed in the future.”
Wafa bint Ali Al Amri, President of OWA in Al Seeb said: “This workshop means a lot to us as it supports OWA’s goal of helping low-income families to become permanently independent. Also, having an internal workshop in the Association will allow us to continue this work and produce quantities as per market demands.”
One of the women from the Al Seeb project will now go to Masirah Island to upgrade the skills of up to 50 women there who have also been trained in recycled paper product manufacture and silk screen printing through a PDO agreement with the Environment Society of Oman.