Shaima Mous Ali – breaking away from grief and self-pity



From Iraq

By Maxwell S. George, Livelihoods Advocacy Officer, DRC Iraq

With a population of approximately 1.2 million, Missan is reportedly hosting more than 53,000 people affected by displacement – including internally displaced people, Iranian refugees as well as Iraqi returnees from Iran. Although receptive to a significant number of internally displaced people, the governorate is not without its share of dire social and economic problems. The legal system is complicated and cultural norms are rigid. IDPs cannot easily regularize their residency status, nor can they have access to certain basic social services, formal employment and legal protection that will enable them integrate easily into the local community.

DRC’s livelihoods program is providing technical vocational training for 510 extremely vulnerable households in four governorates of Iraq in 2013. One hundred and twenty-five of these beneficiaries in Missan are undergoing training in sewing, hairdressing, computer operating systems and welding. The aim is to provide them with life-skills with which they can either become absorbed in the job market or set up a private enterprise as a source of sustainable livelihood.

Shaima Mous Ali, a widow mother of two, is one of twenty-two women undergoing four months of training in sewing at one of the training centers run by the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. After the first two months of training Shaima is making different kinds of women’s dresses with her hands. “I came to this training so I could break away from grieve and self-pity. I enjoy the interaction with other women in the center; I have made new friends and I see this training as a new opportunity to overcome the hardship of living as an IDP without a husband.”

Shaima and many more women like her are in need of this kind of assistance, which DRC is providing. With generous donations from individuals, organizations and governments many more can reclaim their dignity and escape the cruelty of poverty.