Sewing a Dream

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Safa Mohammed, 39, works on a new project using her new sewing machine at her home office.
Preemptive Love Coalition for USAID

Safa Jasim Mohammed, 39, earned a living cooking beans for a street vendor in Mosul’s Old City, but her true passion was always sewing. When Safa fled ISIS with her husband and five children, she was able to make ends meet by taking up small sewing projects. When they returned to Mosul after its liberation, Safa started working as a seamstress in a sewing factory. However, even with this stable job, her small salary made it difficult for Safa, the sole breadwinner, to cover all their costs and felt herself falling deeper into debt. 

 One of Safa’s former sewing clients introduced her to a USAID job coach, who guided Safa in realizing her dream of opening her own sewing business. With support from USAID, Safa was able to purchase an electric sewing machine, fabric, thread, and other materials to launch her own full-service sewing business from her home. 

With her seamstress skills and new equipment, Safa creates clothing for women and children, baby bed covers, and even dresses for toy dolls. Within months of starting her new business, and with ongoing mentorship from her job coach, Safa earns ten times her weekly salary at the sewing factory, which has helped her pay off her debts. Many of her neighbors have followed her successes closely and look up to Safa for her strength and resilience. 

With her needs now covered, Safa is looking for ways to help other women in her community: “I want to open a women's workshop for all sewing-related businesses and help women to find work so that my tragedies will not be repeated with another woman,” Safa said.

Last updated: May 10, 2022

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