Esraa bakes a future for her family




Esraa Al-Sehaiti, runs a business called Arabiscuit, which spe-cialises in sweet surprises. Her signature pastries include Sweet Burger – a chocolate steak and fruit between burger buns – and sushi with chocolate and fruit replacing seaweed and fish. In addition to these specialities, Arabiscuit makes a wide range of other oriental and western-style pastries.

Arabiscuit is based in Jordan. It is where Esraa, now aged 24, fled with her relatives in 2013 to escape the war in Syria. Esraa became the single parent of her 7-year-old son after her husband died in Syria. When faced with adversity, Esraa finds strength in a motivational phrase she keeps repeating in her mind.

– Nothing is impossible. If I stay persistent and determined, nothing can stop me from making my dreams come true.

Esraa describes herself as a calm person who won’t give up until she finds a solution to the problem at hand.

When she was unable to go to university for financial reasons, she decided to earn a living by making pastries; something she had been doing for years to bring joy to herself and her family and friends.

Unable to attend bakery classes because they cost too much, Esraa worked on her baking skills by watching videos on YouTube.

Finally, it was only the lack of money for equipment that held Esraa back from starting her own bakery business. As chance would have it, she saw an advertisement for an entrepreneurship training programme organised by the Women’s Bank Jordan project, and applied.

The Social and Economic Empowerment of Women project organised by Women’s Bank helps Jordanian women and Syrian refugee women living in Jordan to start their own business. Support includes entrepreneurship training, a start-up grant, and mentoring to help women navigate the first steps of starting a business.

– I used the start-up grant to buy the necessary equipment. In the training sessions I have learned many useful skills and gained knowledge I didn’t have, especially about marketing and financial management.

Esraa has created a Facebook page for her company where she uploads product marketing videos. She follows her competitors’ pages closely to keep up with current bakery trends.

– I started by selling my products to family, friends and neighbours, but now I also deliver my products to nearby shops and cafes.

At the moment Esraa makes all her products at home. She is saving money to take the next step, which is to register her business and open her own shop.

– I would like to learn more about business financing. I would also like to learn how to think outside the box; to create new ideas and find new target groups.

Nothing can stop this persistent and determined woman.

Text: Kaisa Majava

Main picture: Esraa Al-Sehaiti, who fled the Syrian war to Jordan, set up her own baking business with the support of Women’s Bank. With her income, she can now provide for her family. Photo: Osaman Nabeel