Driving Success in Suleimania – Meet Entrepreneur Shler Raza

Rasan Organization, is a human rights NGO founded in 2004 in Suleimania. The organization was founded in order to decrease violence against women and strengthen their place in the labour market, either as entrepreneurs or as part of the workforce.

Says Tania Kamal, Rasan’s founder and chair:

Rasan NGO and CEO Tanya in Sulimania

Rasan NGO and CEO Tanya in Sulimania

“We try to ensure that women are able to live and work in safe environments. We also raise awareness for challenges facing Kurdish women today, locally and internationally. However, our particular focus is creating practical local activities and support – for example we trained 20 widows in hairdressing. We believe that if we are able to improve the financial situation of women we work with, the rest of their lives will become easier also. With that in mind, a major focus for us is to introduce them to the business world till they obtain an independent business. ”

Tania shares the story of a successful Kurdish woman, showcasing how one woman’s success can have a great impact on others also:

Shler, driving for success with Nina-iraq.com

Shler, driving for success with Nina-iraq.com

Shler Ghareb Hama Raza is 44 years old. Born in Suleimania she is a woman of many talents. However, she firmly believes that the key to unlocking her talents and those of other women is having the right motivation.

It is certainly true that in Kurdistan culture and tradition women mean that women do not enjoy the freedoms men are able to. However, undeterred by these obstacles Shler was determined to find work. As it happened Shler spotted an opportunity, which led her to embrace the path of an entrepreneur. Realizing that that many women were unable to drive, Shler set up a driving school.  Now, she not only owns a driving school (private and public) – but supports her clients in many other ways also.

For example, Shler is an enabler – by teaching women to drive she helps them gain confidence and become more mobile. This means they are able to access jobs outside their immediate environment. She is also a great practical role model, encouraging women to enter the business field and start their own business. She believes this is the best way for women to become financially independent and reach real freedom. In fact, by working with women’s organisations, who have become great supporters of her business, Shler has had a startlingly wide impact.  In 1990 only 1% of the drivers in Sulaimani were women. But nowadays, it has increased to 37% (though not as a career).

Tania adds that Rasan are trying to support women’s employment by building on this skill set.

“We are trying to have women work as drivers (taxi, loaders etc). This will increase their chances to acquire a job.”

Rasan Organization supports any ambitious woman or wants to start an independent business.

If you want to find out more about Rasan, Tania can be contacted  on tanya_darwesh@yahoo.com


Nina thanks Rasan for this great story. Do you have a story to tell, as an NGO or as an individual? If you do, please do share it with us.

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