Business at the End of the Tunnel

Speeches Shim

Friday, April 9, 2021
Silva organizes her new shop in a camp for internally displaced persons in Duhok.

When ISIS invaded Sinjar in 2014, thousands of Yezidi women were taken captive. Among those kidnapped was Silva*. She was newly married and pregnant at the time, but she lost her baby due to the frequent physical and mental abuse at the hands of ISIS. She was finally able to escape and regain her freedom after an airstrike hit the area where she was held captive. Mentally and physically scarred from her experiences, Silva and her family now live in an Internally Displaced People camp in Duhok. 

Despite her health issues stemming from ISIS’ abuse, she worked as a laborer on farms in the area to support her family, but she sensed that she would soon no longer be able to keep up with the physical effort it required. Thinking about what to do instead, Silva could see herself running a small shop selling women’s toiletries and accessories, especially since there was a lack of such supplies available in the camp. Silva met with USAID to talk about her project and even attended a few business management sessions including financial literacy, supply management, and revenue and profit analysis. Equipped with new skills, Silva felt that her dream was almost in reach.  USAID also helped Silva purchase initial items to stock her shop, including toiletries, accessories, and hygiene products.

Silva is now running her shop and says, “business feels great.” She spends most of her day in the shop, meeting women, selling, chatting, and strategizing for ways to expand and better respond to her clients’ needs. She even recruited her brother to help her restock the items and stand for her in the shop during breaks when she cares for her parents and siblings.

Last updated: May 10, 2022

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