Small business grants help people reach their dreams
Amran, 35, is a busy entrepeneur and single mother in Somaliland’s capital city of Hargeisa. With the help of a UNDP small business grant and training, she runs a small clothing business to support her two daughters and young son. Although she is looking ahead at her growing business, Amran faces one very serious challenge – she is HIV positive.
Discrimination towards people living with HIV closed many doors for Amran, and makes life extremely difficult for her and her children. “I don’t get angry when people attack me verbally. But I become very sad when my children are called names and abused - even though they are healthy,” Amran said.
The lack of economic opportunities available to her meant that she could not cover her family’s basic needs, and they were falling deeper into poverty.
- “I was very happy when I was told that there was a grant for me.”
Before UNDP’s small grants initiative, Amran struggled to make ends meet. The lack of economic opportunities available to her meant that she could not cover her family’s basic needs, and they were falling deeper into poverty. Just when she was beginning to lose hope, Amran found out she was going to receive a $ 500 UNDP small business grant. She knew her life was about to change. “I was very happy when I was told that there was a grant for me,” she said. Working through local partners, UNDP provided Amran with training on setting up a small business, designing a marketing strategy and business plan, basic accounting, and ideas on how to spend her small-business grant.
Empowered with her new skills, Amran established a small clothing business. She’s making it a family business – Amren and her sister are working together to make their business thrive. She is now importing clothes to sell in her community in Hargeisa. Amran’s business is growing, and her success has given her confidence. She is exploring new opportunities and ways to expand her business. Despite the challenges, Amran is full of hope and won’t let discrimination or fear control her life. She is making a brighter future for her family, one day at a time.
According to 2012 UNAIDS estimates, 31,000 people are living with HIV in Somalia – over half of which are women. As research shows, there is an undeniable link between poverty and HIV. The impacts of HIV often increase poverty and social deprivation, while socio-economic inequalities increase vulnerability to HIV infection. People affected or living with HIV are often ostracized and lose out on access to jobs, education, and housing.
By increasing access to economic opportunities and providing valuable career training, UNDP helps people living with HIV/AIDS raise themselves out of poverty. UNDP works with Somali institutions and stakeholders to understand and respond to the development dimensions of HIV and health, recognizing that action outside the health sector can contribute significantly to better health outcomes. For the UNDP HIV/AIDS project, this means providing viable options for entrepreneurs like Amran. The project helps reduce self-stigma for those living with HIV AIDS empowers people living with HIV/AIDS to find solutions to reduce the impact of poverty on themselves and their families
By the end of 2013, 120 people living with HIV received income generating grants, technical assistance and advocacy support from UNDP. However, the number of people benefiting from this project – including family members and children – was over 7,200.