(ERGO) – Maryan Qassim Nur, a single mother of nine children, is planning to enroll her children in school for the first time now that she is earning money from her small shop at the entrance to Durdur IDP camp on the outskirts of Beletweyne.
Maryan, who moved to the camp after her herd of 80 goats was wiped out by drought in Mahas district of Hiran, has been selling women and children’s clothing for the last two months, making between five and eight dollars a day.
“The purpose of the business I set up is to earn a living and help the residents get everything they need within the camp,” she said.
Maryan, who is divorced, takes the clothes on credit from a store in Beletweyne. She used to earn four dollars at most doing cleaning and laundry jobs in town, which meant she had to walk the five kilometres each way.
She is one of a group of 11 women in the camp who came together to plan how they could earn adecent living to educate their children whilst also providing shops locally for the IDP community.
Hawo Malin Osman, a mother of six, set up a meat stall to help her husband who is a labourer. She makes $4-$8 a day after paying back the animals that she buys on credit first.
“I slaughter one goat each day and we thank God, it helps us buy the essentials we need for the day,” she said.
Hawo arrived in Durdur camp in early 2020, after fleeing clan-based conflict in Nagarta. Like many other families in the camp, Hawo did not enroll her children in school because of low income.
Fadumo Osman Ali, 53, was the first of the 11 women to open up a shop in the camp three months ago selling household items. The mother of 13 children, Fadumo enrolled two of her boys at Bukhari primary school in Hawo Tako village in January, and manages to pay $20 per month in fees. She also helps her husband, who works in as a construction labourer, in paying the bills as she also has children from a previous marriage.
Fadumo and the other 10 businesswomen understand the trials of life in the IDP camp and they offer goods on credit to their customer. They also sometimes forgive the debts of those who cannot afford to pay them back. The shops they have established have relieved the camp residents of the daily hustles of walking to town to buy what they need and struggling to negotiate goods on credit from the shop owners in town.