Queen Rania of Jordan spent a wonderful day with Firyal Kofahi’s home-based kitchen business in Irbid governorate’s Hawar village. It came on the eve of Rania's 53rd birthday.
A key focus of the Jordanian Queen's life's work is highlighting and supporting economic opportunities for women. I recently stumbled upon an interview with Rania from almost twenty years ago in which she discusses her passion to uplift women and girls: "By empowering women and giving them skills, money and confidence, their self-respect increases as does the respect they receive from their family and community. It is also a well-documented fact that when women’s participation in the labor market increases, the entire society enjoys an increase in productivity", the Queen said. "The inclusion of women at all levels of economies is a powerful engine for national development. Slowly but steadily, some of the world’s poorest regions are realizing this and reaping the rewards of an empowered female workforce".
More on Rania's efforts from a 2020 article from The CEO Magazine:
'Aside from supporting women and disadvantaged groups, her focus is children and education. Queen Rania chairs an NGO founded in 1995, the Jordan River Foundation, which focuses on child safety and protecting the underprivileged in Jordan.
She’s an Eminent Advocate for UNICEF and speaks out about the importance of reducing violence against some 300 million children worldwide. In a statement she released for World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse in 2008, she said, “It is up to us all to denounce and deter child abuse … it is our responsibility to comfort, listen, support and defend them.” And added, “CEOs must make child protection part of their CSR.”
Going further, Queen Rania is Honorary Chairperson for the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative and has her own teacher training academy. At the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, she launched a 10-year ‘Empowering One Million Arab Youth by 2018’ campaign, joined by 40 global CEOs to improve education outcomes for Arab high school students'.
The Jordan Times reports Rania was warmly welcomed by Firyal Kofahi and her husband, Ahmad Dahadha. Firyal spoke to Rania about the origins of the kitchen. From applying for a grant by USAID’s Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project’s programme in 2015 to building a successful business and employing women. It's been an incredible journey. Another major personal achievement for Firyal was using her income to send her eight children to university.
Firyal discussed the immense challenges presented by the pandemic, which ultimately led to the temporary closure of her business and then the process of essentially building those blocks again.