|Vocational training tailor-makes a new future|
Fartuun Mohammed* Aden, 18, lives in Buulo Elay neighbourhood. She is one of many internally displaced persons (IDPs) from South Central Somalia living in Bossaso, Puntland.
Fartuun and her family fled Mogadishu eight years ago following the protracted war in that region. But she still remembers what her family underwent. “Our home was completely destroyed by mortars. We all fled without carrying anything. The journey to Belet Weyne and Gaalkacyo was a harrowing ordeal. To this day, my parents still talk about their experience at the hands of armed militias who were manning the checkpoints. Militia members demanded money at every checkpoint,” she explains.
From Gaalkacyo, they found refuge in an IDP camp in Bossaso, where life was very difficult.
“The scorching sun in Bossaso was unbearable. Further, we did not have good shelter to shield us. However, we have got used to the weather,” says Fartuun.
Fartuun’s father has no formal employment. He visits downtown Bossaso every morning in search of casual work, but rarely finds a job for the day. The family of eleven looks to Fartuun for upkeep. Thanks to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) vocational skills project under the joint programme on IDPs, she is now a breadwinner.
Fartuun was in the first group of beneficiaries trained as tailors. The skills she has learned have transformed her life.
“Life was difficult for our family before I was recruited into the skills training programme. After successfully completing the training, I was given a sewing machine and material as a grant. This helped me to start a small business.”
Despite the burden of shouldering the entire family, Fartuun is highly encouraged. She wakes up at 5 a.m. every day to prepare breakfast for her siblings. After her three brothers leave for school, Fartuun starts her tailoring work right in front of their house.
“At least I have a place of work. People here have low incomes, but I am happy I get some money, though it is little at the end of the day. On a lucky day, I earn the equivalent of 8 dollars. I buy food for the family and save a little. This has given me optimism. I thank FAO and the joint programme team for this initiative and all those who supported us in kind,” she says.
Fartuun has big plans for her future. In six months she will open a food kiosk to supplement her income from tailoring. This will help send her siblings to better schools. She is the firstborn in a family of five girls and four boys.
Since 2009, some 44 people have benefited from the FAO tailoring skills development project. Fartuun is among 24 women who were recently contracted to make sanitary pads through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under the Protection, Reintegration, and Resettlement of IDPs in Bossaso project.
Protection, Reintegration, and Resettlement of IDPs in Bossaso aims to improve human security and living standards and provide durable solutions for the reintegration and resettlement of IDPs and returnees in Somalia, with a particular focus on IDPs in Bossaso. It is a joint programme by five implementing UN partners ─ UN-HABITAT, UNICEF, FAO, UNHCR and UNDP ─ and is levered by recently strengthened UN capacities for field-based coordination of humanitarian assistance. It is funded by the UN Human Security Trust Fund, which is administered by UNOCHA.
*name has been changed*