Beit Khayrat Souf
Jordan ranks 16th in the world for women’s unemployment. Jordan’s Department of Statistics reports that In 2016 only 13.2% of women were economically active (employed or seeking work) while 58.7% of men were economically active during the same period. Beit Khayrat Souf is a women-owned and managed café in Souf, started with the purpose of combatting women’s unemployment and building a strong community of women leaders. This café was the dream of Sumia, a Jordanian woman who took out a personal loan, bearing the risk with the hope of empowering more women for years to come. The project is supported by the Princess Alia Foundation.
Planeterra was able to connect Beit Khayrat Souf to a larger customer base through our travel partners at G Adventures. As of 2019, G Adventures’ National Geographic Journeys travellers will be visiting Beit Khayrat Souf to be led in a traditional Jordanian food cooking class. The cafe has received support for the construction of the cafe from various nonprofits, but is still working to create a strong customer base.
This growing café already employs 10 women to support in daily management, service and cooking. In order to engage more women in income generation activities, more women also work from home to make preserves, which are sold back to Beit Khayrat Souf for consumption and sales to visitors. As this business continues to grow, more women can gain employment opportunities and break the cycle of unemployment that has remained rampant for women in the region. The café is also used as a launching pad for local youth interested in volunteering and learning about other cultures.