Three people tell how they have achieved a reliable source of income through Islamic Relief’s livelihoods project in south western Tunisia.
Growing livelihoods in Kebili
Eziddine Menchaoui lives in Esteftimi, in the suburbs of Kebili. His village is renowned for its palm trees, but Eziddine owns no fields. Instead, he relies for his living on green-house farming.
In 2013, he and other farmers built greenhouses on land leased from the government, on the outskirts of Esteftimi. But, when a strong storm hit later that year, Eziddine’s four greenhouses were destroyed. To replace them would cost up to 6,000 dinars (almost GBP £2,060), and was more than he could afford.
Then, Islamic Relief introduced its livelihoods project in Kebili. The scheme would help Eziddine and other poor farmers to restore the livelihoods that they lost to the storm. At first, the farmers were skeptical, he says.
“I ignored the Islamic Relief coordinator [when he asked us] to believe in Islamic Relief’s commitment to support us,” explains Eziddine. “Fortunately, the Islamic Relief team visited again and convinced us to start up practical measures.”
Turning loss into success
It was not long before he and the other farmers began to see progress, as Islamic Relief gave them materials and tools to repair their greenhouses. He then used the seedlings and fertilisers provided by the scheme to plant fresh crops, and secured his first harvest within weeks.
“My project has become promising. With Islamic Relief, I turned my loss into success.”
“I met the Islamic Relief team at the right time,” Father-of-seven Hedi Jlili agrees. He also lost his greenhouses when the storm hit. “They provided me with the required material to reinitiate my work.”
Receiving plastic sheeting, cucumber seedlings and fertiliser, Hedi was able to make his two greenhouses in Limegues productive once more – and he already has plans to expand.
“I hope to implement two other greenhouses. It is challenging, but I believe with hard work and support I will do it. I feel quite satisfied thanks to this sustainable source of income which will provide a decent life in these hard times, thank God. I am very thankful to Islamic Relief.”
Self-reliance for women
Unemployment in Kebili tops the national average, and poverty is particularly acute in its remote districts, such as Faouar – where some rural families have no reliable source of income at all.
As part of our efforts to boost livelihoods for Kebili’s poorest people, we also provided 18 women in Faouar with the means to achieve financial self-reliance. Roukaia Abdeladhim was amongst those to benefit. As a divorced woman, living alone since her mother and step-father died, Roukaia struggled to get by on a monthly allowance of 120 dinars (about GBP £41.80).
Islamic Relief provided her with a small herd of goats – four females and one male. The animals provide milk for her to use at home or sell, and she is breeding the goats to sell.
“[The goats] are good quality,” says Roukaia. “I will keep them until I have doubled the number, and then I can start livestock trading.
“I hate asking people to meet my daily needs. I like to rely on myself and on God. Sincere thanks to Islamic Relief, which has offered me the opportunity to do so. He who does well, he will never regret.”
Our livelihoods project in Kebili ends later this year, and is one of a range of schemes designed to improve the lives of poor people in Tunisia.