Anas Abu Samhan, a 24-year-old entrepreneur, grew up in the streets of the Khan Yunis neighborhood in the Gaza Strip, investing most of his time in practicing his English with international visitors and reading English literature. “My passion about this field drove me to pursue a degree in English Literature,” Anas says.
However, his parents were concerned that literature would not secure profitable job opportunities for him. Instead, they wanted him to become the first engineer in the family. Anas says, “I tried to fulfill my parents’ wish, so I pursued a BA in Engineering for two years, but I just couldn’t find myself in this field, so I switched my major to English Literature without telling them.”
When Anas finished his studies, the reality of Gaza’s tough job market set in. That’s when he learned about Palestine Education For Employment (PEFE) Virtual Jobs training program, supported by Islamic Relief USA. “Having known that EFE is an international network that offers great opportunities for fresh graduates, I was very happy with this opportunity,” he says.
The training was comprised of three components: Workplace Success soft skills training, English for Business, and a technical training that prepares fresh graduates to find employment online. “I was highly committed to the training. The curriculum was rich and specialized, and the other trainees were motivated and active, challenging the spirit of competition in me,” Anas explained.
The Virtual Jobs training provided Anas with a basic set of skills that every fresh graduate needs to cultivate before entering the job market. “I made a lot of modifications to my CV, removed all the unnecessary details, wrote my cover letter for the first time, and also learned how to present myself in interviews," he says. Motivated and eager, Anas collaborated with two fellow trainees to develop an idea he had for a start-up company that provides translation services. He always had the ambition to establish his own business where he can leave a real impact in his community.
Anas used the self-employment and online work skills he learned at Palestine EFE to become a freelance translator. He says, “During that period, I invested my time in developing myself and working on my start-up - Al-Farabi for Multilingual Services - until I finally got the break I was waiting for and signed the company"s first big contract with an international client.”
Anas aspires to expand his company, offering new technical services, which would result in employing more Gazans. “My parents are very happy today of how things turned with my English certificate,” he says. On his experience in the Virtual Jobs training, Anas reminisces, “I would like to thank Palestine EFE and Islamic Relief - USA for giving me the opportunity to meet inspiring people who helped me establish my company and make my dream come true.”