With MEPI’s Help, Young Entrepreneur Overcomes the Odds and Launches Sewing Business

Malika was born and brought up in Midelt, a small town in the high plains of central Morocco. Without access to a school after her primary years, Malika was unable to continue her education and began studying sewing, as it did not require fluency in French. After a year of professional training in sewing in Tangier, Malika undertook an internship and soon after secured a job at fashion company. After several years working there, she was recruited to join StanaFashion, a modern textile company.

Just when Malika’s career was on the rise, her life took a turn when she discovered she had breast cancer and was told she could not work anymore. Malika had to leave the company and take two years off to receive the necessary cancer treatment. Because of her skills, StanaFashion asked her to come back to work, but Malika declined the offer as she lacked the strength
and stamina. “I didn’t have the power or enough strength to hold the stress of the company, thus I thought of starting a business together with my sister that would give me more freedom and some rest in the future.” Malika said. When Malika got to a point that she felt strong enough, she moved to El Jadida to start her own sewing business with her sister. They purchased a
basic sewing machine and started their business working from home for almost two years. During this time, Malika joined the EYEM project. Malika met with the project team to learn how they could help her improve and expand her sewing business. Through the project’s small business and entrepreneurship training program, Malika developed a professional business plan. “During the training, I learned to market my products, deal with clients, and manage my business,” Malika
said. “My goal in life has always been to start my own business, even before I became sick. I like sewing and I
like being creative in my work.”

With her improved business skills and a grant from the project of approximately $2,000, Malika was able to rent a professional space and purchase more sewing equipment. Malika formally registered her business and started to grow. She has already increased her income to nearly 1,000 Moroccan dirhams a month, which is enough to cover her everyday expenditures as well as her medical expenses for her continued treatments. Malika hopes to see her business continue to grow and hire more people in order to provide others with work opportunities. She is determined to work hard and provide a better future for her family.