IHS will provide the following:
- free training in a skill that matches the individual’s interests and abilities
- a short-term loan for the individual to start their family-supporting business
- provide a mentor for the first year of the new business
This will all take place in a place known simply as Dami Village!
Dami Village is a slum area in Hargeisa, which is the capital of Somaliland. The village is characterized by dusty, unimproved roads and houses/stores that are poorly built and not maintained. There are no basic services such as consistent water supply or dependable electricity. There is also no provision for garbage disposal.
This opportunity will meet the needs of vulnerable women. It is well known that many women find it difficult, if not impossible, to take care of their children and work to support them. Husbands have long since deserted the home. It is also well known that many women and children are abused physically, socially, sexually, and emotionally. The desire of Innovative Humanitarian Solutions is to meet the needs of these women. With a minimal investment the women can be taught basic skills to start a small business, to manage her new business, and learn basic leadership skills to lead her family. After training the women will receive a small short-term loan so they can start their own business. They will be on the path to a better life for themselves and their children. IHS will continue to encourage and help when needed.
Two families composed of a vulnerable woman and her children who are among the most destitute members of Dami community will be the first to enjoy this opportunity.
Faiza Ahmed Ali
Faiza Ahmed Ali lives in Dami Village with her four (4) children and is one of the most vulnerable families in Dami Village. Faiza does not have any income for long periods of time. Her only way to earn money is the least desirable way she would ever want to use. But she has no choice. She must live as a prostitute if she is to earn money to care for her children. It is the only thing she can do.
Faiza has a place to live but it is one of the least desirable houses in all of Dami Village. It is not a healthy place for her or her children. But she has no choice. She recently became pregnant for the fifth time, quite possibly the fifth different man.
Two of Faiza’s children are five years old, the age for kindergarten. But they will not go. They will play outside the house, in the dirt, with no toys, with no friends, and with no future. They have no choice. They cannot go to school without school uniforms, which Faiza cannot afford (IHS is also raising money for school uniforms for 360 students). Faiza’s other two children are babies.
Every day is a struggle for Faiza. Her house is small. There is only one bed for five people and a few cooking pots/pans. The only relief Faiza has ever enjoyed is a friendship with Miss Suhur, who also lives in Dami Village. Miss Suhur occasionally gets support for NGOs (non-government organization) and shares with women who are struggling like Faiza.
On one occasion Miss Suhur loaned Faiza money to start a small business in front of her house. Every day Faiza went to the market and bought the cheapest meat. She would cook the meat for 4 to 6 hours. This would require wood and charcoal and the use of a small number of pots and pans. And, Faiza did not have the skills to operate even this small business.
The expression on Faiza’s face when she learned of her new opportunity provided by IHS was priceless. It is a new lease on life and one that IHS prays will lead to a better life now and eventually to eternal life.
Zahra Jama Ahmed
Zahra Jama Ahmed is 40 years old. She had three daughters, two sons, and one grandson.
Zahra, like Faiza, has only one way to earn money. It is the least desirable way she would ever want to use. But she has no choice. She must live as a prostitute if she is to earn money to care for her children. It is the only thing she can do.
Zahra has an additional challenge. Her oldest daughter, Badra, was on the way home from school and was gang raped. She was too embarrassed to be seen in public. She became very stressed and finally decided to commit suicide by burning of herself to death. Fortunately, she survived but her right hand remains permanently immovable. Badra now stays home with her one-year old baby. She stopped attending school but now would like to go back to school. Her desire is to study medicine.
Zahra’s other children do not go to school. Her thirteen-year old son was arrested by the police for stealing a mobile phone. This was during a time he was actually living on the street. Zahra dreams of returning to a normal life. She see this opportunity presented by IHS as the best way for her to change her life and be able to support her family. She would like to learn the skill of sewing, become a tailor, and earn enough money to be self-dependent. She also wants to send her children back to school.