Stone Masonry as a Means to Independence and Self-Sufficiency

Hassan, an Afghan refugee in Iran, has successfully opened his family-run masonry business after attending the DRC business-skills training courses and receiving a start-up business grant.

From Iran

Story by: DRC Iran,
Photo by: Mohammad Shojaie: Hassan Shojaie at a building construction site. (Arak, Markazi Province, Iran)

Project funded by: German Federal Foreign Office

Hassan is a 23-year-old Hazara male. He was born and raised in Arak City, Markazi Province, Iran. Hassan lives with his family of six. His father was a young man when he fled with his family to Iran at the time of the Afghan civil war in the 1980s.

A few years ago, Hassan’s father suffered a stroke and is now unable to work. Hassan and his younger brother, aged 21, are the only breadwinners in their family. Hassan is currently studying English Literature at Arak University. When he finishes his studies, he plans to leave Iran and create a better future for himself.

Hassan attended the DRC business-skills training courses that were funded by the German Foreign Office. He then received a start-up grant equivalent to USD $ 500. His business proposal was on the construction of stone façades. Hassan has been gaining skills in this technical field since he was a child in Arak. Starting in January 2014, Hassan opened his family-run masonry business with the help of his younger brothers. His brothers did not wish to continue their school education, but wanted instead to help Hassan to support the welfare of the entire family.

“The business training was very good. The coursework taught me key information which I could use to attract customers and run my own business. Beforehand, I had no self-confidence or any idea of entrepreneurship. Prior to the business training, I had to work for an employer and I received only a small salary. Afterwards, relying on the new knowledge that I had gained from the business skills-training courses, I was positive that I could run my own business. Using the start-up grant, I bought the necessary equipment for my business, including welding machinery and stone cutters. I am now self-employed, and my income is much higher than before. I run the family business and manage the construction work that my brothers carry out for our customers.”

Hassan concluded: “At the moment, people in the local market know me. I have my customer base, and I am now trying to attract even more customers, for even greater success in the future.”