Stability in refuge

19 year old Mohamad from Faluja had almost no income when he and his family first arrived in Erbil. He now runs a grocery shop and can support his family.

In February 2014, the 19-year-old Mohamad and his family left their house in Faluja, after Armed Opposition Groups attacked and took over the city located in Anbar governorate, in Iraq.

When he first arrived in Erbil, Northern Iraq, the only income in Mohamads family was a small stall in front of his house, in which he sold sweets and beverages, barely covering the needs of his family consisting of 11 members, including the house rent.

“Now I have stable income that helps me to take care of my family, and my sister’s family after I received a cash grant to start my own business” he said.

He is running one of the most successful businesses in the neighbourhood in which he settled, after receiving a grant from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and started up a grocery shop.

This grant was given to him, after he participated in a small business development training, as the first step to help its beneficiaries to be able to run their own businesses. These business development trainings are offered by DRC’s Job Centre in Kasnazan district, which is funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). So far, the Centre has managed to help 1,154 beneficiaries getting a more sustainable livelihood, since its opening in January 2015.

Although the start was difficult for Mohamad, he is now planning to expand his shop, using the profits he earns from his business. His plans are to expand together with his sister’s husband, in order to pay her medical bills.

“My life is stable now here in Erbil but I am still dreaming to go back to my home in Faluja,” said Mohamad, while he was helping one of his customers in his grocery shop in Kasnazan close to Erbil.