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8 March 2024 - Story


In celebration of International Women's Day and this year's theme, "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress," comes a story of resilience, passion, and empowerment.

Meet Sucdi, a 25-year-old henna and makeup artist living in Garowe, Somalia, who defied all odds to pursue her passion in the face of challenges. Despite having to leave school after completing the 8th grade due to her family's financial hardships, Sucdi was determined to create her own path.

From a young age, Sucdi had a natural talent for art and makeup, often spending hours experimenting with different designs and techniques. However, pursuing her passion was not easy. Growing up in a conservative community where many still hold traditional beliefs about women's roles and did not consider makeup artistry a respectable profession for a woman. Sucdi refused to be discouraged. She continued to practice her craft, honing her skills through trial and error and studying online tutorials. When Sucdi turned 20, she decided to take a bold step and pursue her dream of becoming a professional henna and makeup artist.

In 2023, opportunity knocked when Sucdi learned of a free six-month vocational course in Henna and Makeup by Save the Children. Hungry for knowledge, she joined 40 other aspiring girls to immerse herself in the world of henna manicure, hairstyling and makeup. The course was mainly hands-on practice, while also providing crucial lessons in customer service and life skills for success. During the training Save the Children covered all training expenses, including $50 tuition fees and provided a $22 monthly transportation allowance for Sucdi.

Sucdi's passion for the crafts flourished, Among her peers. The program provided not only technical skills but also a supportive community inspiring her artistic growth.

After completing her valuable training, Sucdi had a tough time establishing herself in the competitive beauty therapy industry in Garowe. However, she persisted by applying her skills at various salons and taking feedback from the client, which helped her to refine her techniques and improve her craft. After four months of hard work, Sucdi's skills had reached a level where she felt confident enough to transform a room in her home into a salon space to serve clients. Sucdi was entrusted as the henna and makeup artist for a small wedding in the neighbourhood. This was a pivotal moment that validated her efforts and made her realize that she had overcome the obstacles in her path.

 Even after completing the invaluable training course, Sucdi faced an uphill journey carving out her niche in Garowe's competitive beauty industry. She persisted, diligently applying her skills at various salons while graciously receiving feedback to elevate her techniques to greater heights.

By the fourth month, Sucdi's talents had blossomed enough for her to transform a room in her home into an intimate salon space to serve clients.

Just two weeks after opening her doors, a neighbor entrusted Sucdi as the henna and makeup artist for a wedding! As she adorned the bride's hands with those gorgeous, intricate patterns, Sucdi felt such an incredible sense of pride and validation for following her dreams.

Today, Sucdi is constantly on the move between salons and her home studio. She makes decent money, especially during holidays like Eid when her skills are in high demand. While financial constraints currently prevent her from upgrading her home space into a more professional studio space, her ambition and entrepreneurial spirit have translated into a respectable income stream.

With each stroke of her henna brush and application of makeup, Sucdi moves one step closer to cementing her place as one of Garowe's premier henna artists. Her inspiring story is emblematic of how investing in women's economic empowerment can unlock boundless potential and accelerate societal progress.

 Her beaming smile speaks volumes of a woman who defied the odds. Her inspiring story is emblematic of how investing in women's economic empowerment can unlock boundless potential and accelerate societal progress.



Interviewee’s story in their own words (Quotes):

‘‘My name is Sucdi, and I'm a 25-year-old living in Garowe. I had to leave school in grade eight due to financial hardships my family faced at that time. Despite not completing my studies like most of my classmates, I've always seen myself as more of an artist. I realized that what I wanted didn't have to align with what everyone else pursued.

 From a young age, I had an eye for designs and enjoyed helping people choose colours and henna designs that suited them. My passion was to learn henna and makeup as I found these skills artistic and fascinating. I tried to learn how to make henna through YouTube videos, which improved my skills, but I soon realized that I needed guidance to turn this passion into a primary source of income. Learning on my own had limitations, and I wanted to have a supportive community of like-minded individuals with similar interests and hobbies.

Fortunately, last year, some friends who had completed a similar course recommended it to me. Interestingly, I researched further and registered in 2023 for the course at a local centre. The classes started in mid-October 2023, and there were around forty students. The course primarily focused on practical training, with about 75 percent of the classes dedicated to hands-on learning. The remaining sessions covered theory topics, such as customer care and the use of quality products.

Joining this course turned out to be a great decision. Learning with people who shared similar dreams and interests made the classes more enjoyable and smoother. I appreciated the chance to observe different approaches and techniques from my fellow students during the practical sessions.

 Knowing that there was a growing number of makeup and henna artists in the city didn't discourage me. I believed that my destiny would bring me what I deserved, and my aim was to build my own name and reputation in this field.

During the second month of training, I began practicing with various salons in the city. I offered my services for free to gain experience working with actual customers outside of my family and friends. Constructive feedback was important to my growth, and I persistently practiced what I learned in both theory and practical sessions.

By the fourth month, I started redecorating a room in my house and investing in chairs, banners, and other equipment from my savings to open my own salon. Though it wasn't big, it was my own space where people could easily find and visit me. I was thrilled when, two weeks after opening, I received my first full client, providing henna and makeup services for a neighbour’s wedding. Their trust in me was deeply rewarding. 

Currently, I continue to work with several salons on different days while managing my own place. During the last two Eid celebrations, I earned around 100 US dollars per day, which felt incredibly fulfilling. On regular days, my income varies, some days earning about 20 to 10 US dollars a day, and occasionally nothing at all.

In the coming four to five years, my plan is to focus on improving my skills and achieving the dream I've held for so long. I want to establish a strong reputation and build a loyal customer base. While financial constraints prevent me from improving my salon immediately, I am hoping that things will fall into place over time.’’


About the Project

The Economic and Social Empowerment of Youth in Somalia Project (EASEY) project is funded by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by Save the Children in partnership with Puntland Ministry of Labour, Youth and Sports and Garowe Vocational Training Center, tackles unemployment - one of Somalia's biggest youth challenges. It aims to provide 3,920 youth, including marginalized groups with quality technical and vocational skills to improve their income opportunities and social inclusion.