Asha Ali* is a widow and a mother of 6 children aged between 3 and 14. After her husband was killed by a stray bullet two years ago during fighting in Mogadishu, Asha has struggled to raise her children.
Asha did odd jobs in the neighbourhood, but they provided barely enough for a meal a day. A number of times she would go to the market to borrow vegetables, which she then sold outside her house at a profit.
“The little money I made could not pay school fees or buy clothing for my children, leave alone food. I would be bitter whenever the children were sent home from school for lack of school fees. I longed for some capital to sustain a small business,” Asha explains.
Her dream came true when she was recruited as a beneficiary of the Alhuda Primary and Secondary School rehabilitation project in Wadajir District of Mogadishu. Living near the school, she was able to get work as a casual labourer, carrying sand, stones and cement using a wheelbarrow.
“I earned 3 dollars a day. I would use 2 dollars for food that would last 2 days,” she reveals.
Normally, she would work eight hours at the school and then go home to prepare food for her children. Later in the evening, she would dedicate time to menial jobs such as washing clothes for residents in her neighbourhood to supplement her income. Asha would save 2 dollars every day and saved 150 dollars during the life of the project.
Today, she no longer goes to the market to borrow vegetables. Asha has enough capital to run her business, which brings 5 to 6 dollars in profit each day.
Asha can now meet the basic needs of her children. And though the project has ended, it made a huge difference in her life.
“It contributed a lot as a source of livelihood for my family. It pulled us out of the vicious circle of poverty, and our quality of life has greatly improved,” she concludes.
The project is funded by Japan.
*name has been changed