(ERGO) – Saredo Ahmed Farah, a single mother of five, moved last month to a rent-free stall in the newly built covered market in central Somalia’s Galkayo town, after hawking goods by the roadside for 10 years.
Saredo was among 70 women given two-and-a-half metre stall spaces in the new market.
“I was selling goods in the open air under the scorching sun, and paying rent to the owner of the shopfront where I set my table. But now we are covered from the direct sunlight,” she said.
Saredo hopes to use the $10 rent she now saves to build her business. Some of her old customers are not yet aware of her new location but she is already earning about $4 profit a day selling dry food and household items.
“I’m very happy to get a rent-free stall in this economy. All I am waiting for now is the capital so that I can expand my business,” Saredo said, hoping that the municipality will come up with some business investment projects.
Asha Mohamed Ahmed, a widowed mother of four, also received a stall to sell her vegetables and dry food.
“This new market has saved us a lot. At the roadside we used to have to stay alert the whole day to stop the passing livestock eating our food! But there is nothing like that here,” she said.
Asha used to be constantly moving as shop owners did not want her hawking outside their premises. She has already expanded to selling cooking pots and plates that she buys on credit from stores.
She told Radio Ergo she is making $5 profit daily and paying $15 monthly school fees for two of her children at Abdullahi Isse primary school.
Galkayo municipality relocated the women to the new market to ease traffic congestion along the town’s main roads which have been expanded.
The municipality’s head of environment, Abdullahi Abdirahman Omar, told Radio Ergo the women selected were the sole breadwinners for their families. He noted that the new market building construction cost $7,000.
“This was all we could afford for them. We will try to raise some investment capital and we call on aid organisations to play a role,” said Abdullahi.