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Women’s handicrafts support IDP families in Mogadishu to eat three meals a day

Saturday May 1, 2021

Halimo Gure weaves in the centre/Naima Said/Ergo

(ERGO) – Fadumo Abdulkadir Hassan, an internally displaced mother of nine, is proud to be able to provide her family with three meals a day based on the money she earns from making handicrafts.

“My plan is to continue earning from my handiwork, instead of begging! I have the skills to make us a living,” said Fadumo, who lives in Wahsan Suge camp in Garas Balley, on the outskirts of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

She is among a group of 40 IDP women trained to make brooms, Somali milk containers, traditional mats, and baskets, which they sell locally. She makes five or six dollars a day from the sale of her small handmade items, like brooms and fans.

The women work from a centre set up by the chair of Wahsan Suge camp, using $500 from a Somali women diaspora group. The camp hosts 300 families mostly displaced by climate crises and recurring clan conflicts in Lower Shabelle region.

Fadumo also makes a limited number of larger items such as mats and baskets that she sells at the end of each month to non-governmental organisations, educational centres, and diaspora Somalis, making an additional $100-$150 a month from those sales. The woven mats and grain-sifting baskets sell at between $30-$35 per piece.

Her family, which was displaced in 2019 from their farm in Barawe by drought, used to scrape by on around two dollars earned by Fadumo’s odd laundry jobs and her husband’s work as a goods porter. In those days they could only afford one meal a day.

Since establishing herself in this weaving and handicraft work, Fadumo has been paying $60 a month for three of her children aged nine to 14 to attend school and Koranic classes.

“I don’t rest because I am the sole breadwinner of my family. I have to work to sustain them and their father,” she said. Her husband has stopped his labour job and stays at home.

Awliyo Mohamed Muse has been teaching weaving techniques free of charge at the centre since 2019. She learnt the skills from her mother and has her own shop in the camp. She has seen how the centre has transformed the lives of many women.

“The women earn well from their craft,” she said, noting that they use recycled plastic and other materials they collect from the market and around the camp to make their products.

Halimo Mumin Gure, a mother of four, told Radio Ergo that she makes $10 a day from handicrafts, working seven days a week, enabling her to support her children, as well as her siblings and their children.

“Sometimes I partner and produce products with other women. We share the money we make equally,” she said.

Halimo pays $40 school fees for four of her children and has connected water and electricity to her house.

Before she started this business, she used to cook one meal for her family but now she cooks three meals a day.


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