Operation Mercy Iran believes economic empowerment is a significant driver of economic growth and prosperity. Women`s ability to participate in a formal economy in an unconstrained and fair way promotes their human dignity and quality of life.
The Afghan Empowerment Project (AEP) is a long running project (since 2009) and focuses on socio-economic growth and poverty reduction within the community of Afghan refugees in south Tehran, through building strong foundations for income generation and strengthening community and civil society by empowering them.
The strategic priority of this project is women’s empowerment to enable them to achieve a better quality of life.
This project runs under two shifts; a morning women’s shift and an evening men’s shift.
Throughout 2018, the various departments cover over 680 Afghan youths, men and women in Vocational Training, Business Development and Education Departments.
The Business Start-up Project is a new addition to AEP which started in December 2017. This was in response to the high unemployment rate and joblessness among refugees (especially women) to meet the needs of the refugees through the development of community business entrepreneurship in handicrafts.
The handicrafts business was designed and developed based on a cluster format, consisting of individuals coming together to form one common business community platform targeting the markets that refugees are willing and allowed to work in. This format of start-up was aimed at strengthening the voice of the persons involved and empowering them to act as this will in turn help the refugees to break through the cycle of poverty and achieve some of their basic life goals.