Asha Ahmed Abdullahi, a mother of nine, has built up a successful small business running a clothes shop in Dhusamarab using a grant she was given a year ago by a local development organization.
Asha was among 11 women in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region, to receive a start-up package of $272 from Tanaad.
Asha told Radio Ergo that she makes a comfortable $70 a month from her business. This enables her to pay school fees for two of her children at a monthly fee of $12 in total, as well as to pay her rent and feed the family with two cooked meals a day.
This is a significant improvement on her situation previously, when she was struggling to support the family on the $30 she made a month working for someone else as a tailor. With her husband unemployed, she managed to cook only an evening meal for the children.
Jamad Mohamed Mohamud, deputy director of Tanaad, said the grants given to women like Asha were aimed at uplifting the living standards of poor families in the region. Jamad is already pleased with the results she has observed.
“When we carried out our assessments, we had a feeling that these people could do something for themselves and that is why we selected them and awarded them the money,” she said.
The small grant scheme has replaced Tanaad’s previous programme in which they were giving cash assistance of $70 a month to 750 poor women in seven areas of Galgadud. The project was supported by the international NGO Oxfam for three months.
All 11 grantees have set up shops selling clothes, foodstuffs or vegetables. The women are in contact and they meet regularly. They have established a support network and provide loans to any member of the group whose business may not be doing well at a particular time.
Asha says they see a bright future which they could not imagine a year ago. The women are also glad to have been empowered so as not to depend on food aid or cash handouts any more.