If you asked Marwan, 27, what he imagined for his future before ISIS occupied Sinjar in 2014, he would have said that he wanted to finish his degree, find a job, and start a family in his hometown of Til-Qasab Village.

Marwan's life completely changed when ISIS invaded, which forced him to stop his studies and flee to Khanki Camp on the outskirts of Dohuk. To meet his basic needs and provide for his family, Marwan worked as a daily wage earner.

In 2017, Marwan returned to Sinjar, this time with a wife and newborn baby. Like many daily wage workers, Marwan had to work more than one job to make ends meet. Even working multiple jobs, Marwan was only able to earn $20 per week. Marwan dreamed of establishing his own business in order to secure a more stable and suitable life for his growing family. 

With support from USAID, Marwan was able to open a convenience store, which instantly tripled his weekly income. After two months, Marwan used his profits to expand his store and open a second business - a chicken butcher shop -- further growing his weekly income. "I am very happy and busy with my work. Before, I had to borrow money for my livelihood. Now, I have paid off all my debts, and I can save money," said Marwan.

Through the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund, USAID is helping Iraqis rebuild their lives with dignity.

Marwan organizes his convenience store in Sinjar.
Marwan organizes his convenience store in Sinjar.