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Former refugee brothers bring carpentry jobs to Baidoa

Tuesday July 10, 2018

Two Somali brothers have applied the carpentry skills they learnt during more than a decade living as refugees in Yemen to establish a thriving business that is now creating employment in Baidoa.

Tabit Ali Ahmed, 39, and Ishaq Mohamed Adan, 24, brought back to Somalia a unique style of making Arabian furniture that has become popular as wedding gifts, and in local houses and hotels.

Radio Ergo’s local reporter visited the workshop they set up in Baidoa, where they have already trained 70 young people from scratch in carpentry skills.

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Ishaq said they returned to Mogadishu from Yemen in October 2016, and finally managed to persuade a businessman they knew to lend them $1,500 to buy equipment and rent a workshop. They came to Baidoa for a particular contract and saw the business potential and ended up staying.

“The young trainees work with us for three months without pay, while we give them training on carpentry, carving wood, making chairs and tables,” Tabit, the elder brother, explained.

They now employ 10 former trainees on salaries of $150 a month. Two are from IDP camps in Baidoa. Another eight trainees are preparing to take up other jobs.

Ishaq, a father of four children, and Tabit, a father of nine, seized the chance to learn carpentry as unpaid apprentices in the evenings whilst living as refugees in the southern port city of Aden. Tabit was working days as a waiter at a restaurant earning $50, while Ishaq worked for the municipal authority cleaning roads.

The business in Baidoa has taken off in the past year. Tabit has managed to enroll seven of his children in school, paying $70 school fees as well as house rent of $200. The brothers, who have the same mother, have invested in generators and other equipment worth around $18,000.

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