Thursday 2 April 2020


PHOTO1: Aisha Osman in her shop

 Aisha is all smiles when I visit her at her shop. She is eager to share her story –the struggles she faced living in a refugee camp, away from her extended family and land. But more importantly she is excited to show us around the shop.  "To open this shop was not an easy job for me. I had no experience of running my own business. My husband did not have a job, and we were struggling every day to make ends meet. When this opportunity came, I knew I had to grab it with both hands,’’  says Aisha says,  a mother of four.

Aisha lives in Biyo Kulule Camp in the outskirts of Bossaso town where she has been living for the last 10 years. She moved here from the Ethiopian-Somali border, after severe drought destroyed their lives and livelihoods. She now  runs a small shop in the camp, selling groceries to her neighbors and community members.

Aisha is one of the many people who received grants to establish businesses through Durable Solution for Returnees and IDPs in Somalia (DSRIS), program implemented by Save the Children and its partners and supported by European Union.  The program aims at increasing sustainable income opportunities for women and youth through Village Savings and Loan schemes and provision of business management trainings.   

To date, a total of 530 members including 415 women from Bossaso and Adado in Somalia have benefitted from the programme.

"Today I’m proud owner of my own shop. I feel really good. I know my children will not suffer anymore. Before I opened the shop, I was concerned. But now I can say that I know how to manage my life." 

In addition, the porgram also supports 80 youths to start their business and access local markets providing materials and supplies as a loan.  Yusuf Abdi, who lives in Biyo Kulule refugee camp is one such beneficiary. He recently opened a new shop.

"I was a farmer in Southern Somalia, but due to droughts I lost my farm.  As a result I got displaced in moved to Bossaso. Life was challenging each day.”

“When I came here, I worked as porter, and sometimes stayed at home without a job and nothing to feed my children. My daily life was a struggle. I could not afford to pay school fees for my children."

‘’Thanks to Allah, I received $350 through the Village Saving and Loan Association and was a able to stand on my own. Now, I have a source of income to feed my children and take them back to school.

 This program implemented by Save the Children has been lauded to be a game-changer in supporting vulnerable and marginalized populations to rebuild their lives. Abdulkadir Said Mohamud, Director of Durable solution for internally displaced Communities from the Ministry of Interior in Puntland says "our priority is for enable the IDPs to integrate with their host communities so that they can become self- reliant.

Fatima is another lucky beneficiary of the program. She is among the 50 young people selected  to receive a grant from over 300 youths that the organization trained with new skills. The youth were trained on textiles making, electrical, mechanical, welding and furniture  making, giving them opportunity to be self- reliant and discourage them from risking their lives through illegal migration to Europe and Gulf countries.  

With the support she received from the program, Fatima opened beauty salon in Bossaso town. She makes enough money to support her daughter and parents. " I am a professional.  Now that I’m self-employed, I can easily support myself and my family.”


PHOTO:  Abdikariim, owner of a garage in Bossaso. He opened his garage after nine months of skills training course under support of EU Migration project.

Abdikarim, 27, owns a garage where he does wielding, furniture and electrical repairs. He a college graduate but for a long time he could not find a suitable job. He was very disappointed with life and was willing to risk his life and  migrate to Europe via Libya.

He says the programme helped him find a job that earns him living:

" I feel like I was born to be a mechanic. I learned these skills very easily . Now I can do electrical repairs and welding. This opportunity helps me think about life differently.  Before this I used to think I getting employed is the only way. Now I think differently. I started believing in myself and  opened my own garage. Now I make good income.”

The Durable Solution for Returnees and IDPs in Somalia (DSRIS) is a consortium Project implemented by CARE, Save the Children, ACTED and IMPACT. It aims to increase access to basic services and creation of realistic livelihood opportunities for vulnerable populations including IDPs and returnees. DSRIS project focussed on provision   of Health service in 25 IDPs sites and host community, certificate and diploma skills training level, economic empowerment and job creation as well as provide clean water for IDPs and host communities.

The project supports youth who are at risks of migration, radicalization and engage in illegal activities to participate in getting equitable services and self-sufficiency through sustainable and durable livelihood opportunities for youth and women including the Village Saving and  Loans Associations and Soocadey business approach (Go and Sell).