As part of efforts to tackle entrenched poverty in eastern Sudan, Islamic Relief is supporting women to become more self-reliant by forging lasting livelihoods. Sudan’s Eastern State of Gedarif has become increasingly arid as a result of climate change, which has seen many lose their predominantly agricultural livelihoods. Islamic Relief have been running a project in the area to help create new livelihoods, improve diets and make farmers more resilient to the changing climate. Part of the project involves helping women launch their own small businesses, which is equipping them to become self-reliant and provide for their families.
27-year-old Nada is a single mother living in Wadwidayda village in the suburbs of Gedarif. She is a qualified midwife, but does not have a reliable income. As the sole breadwinner for her family, she struggled to make ends meet.
Then, Nada was selected to take part in Islamic Relief’s project to help women create new livelihoods.
After receiving gas cylinders and training to sell gas to people living in the area, Nada set up her own small business.
“Before I started my business, people struggled to re-fill their gas cylinders and had to travel a long distance to Gedarif. Sometimes they couldn’t even get gas there!
“My village has benefitted a lot from my business. Every month, I am able to take 10 cylinders be filled at the gas station, which I sell to others in my local area.
“I work in my gas cylinder shop almost every day from morning to noon… I leave my phone number at the shop so that my customers can contact me if I am not present”, says Nada.
The Islamic Relief project brings women together in groups, where they discuss any business queries, share industry information and support to one another.
Nada’s group meet every Friday at the home of one of the members. They discuss their business’s costs, income, losses and profit over tea.
“The project has helped my community a great deal because they used to travel long distances to Gedarif just to get gas. Now, they are very pleased with my business – especially older people. The gas is readily available to them and it is close-by. I thank Islamic Relief for their effort.
“I now have hopes for my business to grow, and for nearby villages to also get their gas from me”, says Nada.
28-year-old Mahasin is also benefitted from Islamic Relief’s project. She is from Sabarna village, where agriculture is the main source of income. She was living in poor conditions with her family, but is now self-reliant and runs her own small business.
“The programme provided me with 25 sacks of groundnut seeds. I planted them and harvested 30 sacks which I can sell and make a profit”, says Mahasin.
Mahasin has also gained confidence in her role as leader of her women’s group, which meets every month.
She is very ambitious and has plans to invest the profit from the harvest in opening a food shop in the village.
“I thank Islamic Relief for the seeds, they benefitted me a lot”, she says.
The project is helping to improve the lives and livelihoods of 3,500 families in the area. As part of the project, Islamic Relief also repaired a water dam, introduced drip irrigation techniques to farmers, and repaired animal shelters.
It has provided essential support to vulnerable families, who now have a reliable source of income with which to support their families. Over 80 women have gained essential skills and confidence and are working to build brighter futures.
With your help Islamic Relief can continue enabling families to lift themselves out of poverty in Sudan and beyond. Please donate today.