I can now run my business better: Safiya’s story
32-year-old Safiya Yusuf, a mother of one boy aged 9, returned to her home country Somalia in 2015. She had been living in Yemen since the year 2000, just after the crisis began in Somalia.
“Life in Yemen was very difficult. One of the key challenges I faced was financial because job opportunities were rare for Somali women. Raising my child under these circumstances was not easy,” she says. “Having been away from home for 15 years, returning home was not easy either. I did not know where to begin to pick the pieces of my life but I was determined to be patient and live a new and fulfilling life here in Hargeisa. I am happy that I can now run my own grocery business.”
Safiya alongside 50 other returnees arrived in Berbera in September 2015 and received, through Action Africa Help International (AAH-I), the UNHCR Assisted Spontaneous Returnees (ASR) package at the Berbera Reception Center. The USD
$200 ASR is given to Somali returnees. AAH-I is implementing this Somali returnee project with funding from UNHCR
“I spent only one day in Berbera and travelled with my son to Hargeisa the next day. We used the money to buy food, clothes and rent for the first month. The ASR complemented the support I received from my relatives.”
“While in Hargeisa the Somali returnee Committee told me about AAH-I’s livelihoods and self-reliance programme being run at the Peaceful Coexistence Centre (PCC). I visited the PCC for the first time in February 2016”. This programme offers returnees, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people an opportunity to learn language or attend a business or vocational training class. “I attended a returnee induction session with 49 other returnees. Later I took up classes in literacy and numeracy being offered at the PCC so that I can manage my business better.”
“After four months I applied for and qualified to receive a business grant that I used to open a grocery shop here in Hargeisa. The knowledge I received from a 5-day entrepreneurship and business skills training at the PCC have helped me to refine my business plan.” Safiya continued to focus on improving her life and took up a tailoring course at the AAH-I-run Skills and Production Centre, funded by UNHCR. After 6 months she successfully graduated and received certification in February 2017.
“I will remember September 2017 for a long time. This is when my tailoring business was officially opened in the busy Idaacada Market in Hargeisa. I am making enough money to not only support my family’s household needs, but I am now saving some money at the end of every month. I am happy to be self- employed.”