Abdighani has restarted his life after fleeing the war in YemenAfter assistance from DRC, Abdighani has opened an optical shop in Somalia and he is now again a self-reliant optical doctor.
In Bossaso, Somalia, Danish Refugee Council (DRC) runs a refugee reception centre that receives refugees from different countries, provides them with food and drinks and registers them alongside our donor UNHCR.
After the refugees are resettled in the community, they are offered an opportunity to develop their own business plans, receive business skills training and thereafter given grants to start their small and medium enterprises. For younger refugees, DRC offers specialised vocational skills training and provides them with a start-up to ensure they become self-reliant.
Abdighani from Yemen is among the 1,800 refugees who participated in a week-long business skills training that was offered by DRC in Bossaso, Somalia this year. He received a USD 1,000 business grant twice, which he used to open an optical shop (dispensing optician). The shop has benefitted him and his business partner Jamil in many ways providing them with a daily income.
“We chose to come to Somalia because we knew we would get the support that we needed to survive. Our business has picked up and we are thankful that we are doing much better now. It has helped us become self-reliant,” says Abdighani.
Succesful optical doctor once again
Before fleeing to Bossasso, he was a successful Optometrist/Optical Doctor back in his home country- Yemen.
“We are thankful to DRC, for supporting us. When we arrived, they gave us food and drinks.” Says Abdighani
“We were taught how to work in Somalia, how to carry out our business and how to integrate with the community. This was very important for us as it helped us in running our business effectively.” Says Abdighani.
When the war broke in Yemen, Abdighani together with his family and friends fled on a boat in search of a better and peaceful environment. They came to Somalia because it was closer and their traditions were similar.
Due to financial constraints, he decided to partner with his friend Jamil to start the business. Back home, they had worked together as opticians for many years, and their partnership would yield more success given their circumstances.
“Somalia is like our second home, we don’t face any problems. And we are thankful to God and DRC for supporting us.” Says Abdighani
Mohamed’s Story: Bringing the taste of Yemen to Somalia
Mohamed Jama is another refugee who’s life changed entirely when he received a grant to start his own restaurant in Bossaso, Somalia. Now he has employed three people in addition to his two sons and wife, helping his family to make ends meet.
The restaurant has a small kitchen made out of iron sheets with a small seating area outside. Although it seems small, it is decently decorated to attract customers.
“We bought second hand refrigerators and now they are all broken down. That’s all we could afford at the time but we set up the restaurant and decorated it with the grant we received from DRC. By partnering with my sons, the grant went a long way – I couldn’t have afforded this individually. Now, we just need to get some umbrellas to cover the outside seating area,” says Mohamed.
Mohamed was given a grant to open the restaurant by the DRC, through a livelihood program funded by UNHCR. The USD 3,000 (USD 1,000 per person) grant gave them the opportunity to buy equipment, utensil and all they needed to open the restaurant. They decided to specialize in good Yemeni food because of their background and this has gained popularity in the community.
“We serve rice, meat, chicken, juice and soft drinks. Sometimes we run out of food because we can’t cook a lot given our small kitchen. We unfortunately don’t have a coffee maker so we don’t serve tea and coffee at the moment. That would bring us a lot of customers we believe,” he remarks.
Grateful for assistance and motivated to work hard
Mohamed gets some profit from his restaurant even though its marginal. He has three workers that he has to pay and a family to take care of. This has motivated him to work even harder to ensure the business is a success.
“We are grateful; when we start making good profit we will invest in a good fridge and an umbrella for our outdoor seating area.” He concludes
DRC with the support of UNHCR is committed to ensuring the protection of refugees and promoting long-term solutions to the problems created by forced displacements in Somalia.