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Embroidery lifts poor women in eastern Libya out of poverty


With no fixed source of income, dozens of divorced and widowed Libyan women found new hope, thanks to an initiative led by a local charity in Benghazi.

The Amal foundation, which means “hope” in Arabic, has been targeting women whose husbands were killed in acts of violence as the eastern port city was a battlefield between 2014 and 2017 when forces linked to an eastern government fought Islamist fighters, devastating whole districts.

Women are taught to make embroidery and sell it at local markets.

Libya, once the wealthiest country in North Africa, has slipped into a spiral of violence after the toppling of long-ruling Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The capital Tripoli and western Libya are run by a U.N.-backed government mainly supported by armed groups, while the east is controlled by a rival administration.

“The idea is that we move from providing everything with the family becoming dependent (on charity organisations) and waiting for those who give food supplies like other organisations to supporting productive families,” the charity founder, Gamal al-Masraty, said.

Nearly 50 sewing machines were donated to the factory by benefactors from inside and outside Libya, he added.

The United Nations estimates that 1.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance across Libya hit by instability and local conflicts.


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