Layla's determination to mend her future and her family's

Published January 6, 2015 by Abdikarim Khalif Olow

Layla-Abdullahi with her sowing machine.Layla-Abdullahi with her sowing machine.

Layla is tailoring a better future for her family of nine. She spends her day sewing clothes at her tailoring shop in Wamo village, in the Afmadow district of Lower Juba, Somalia. The business, which earns her an average profit of 4 USD a day, helps take care of her family. 

When Layla received her first monthly payment of 60 USD from the USAID funded Cash Assistance and Recovery Support project (CARSP), she catered to her family’s basic needs, including food and water, as well as repaid some of her debt. From her three consecutive payments, she saved about 90 USD and bought a sewing machine. With it, Layla started tailoring for people in her village to earn a living.

Like many other women in Somalia, Layla previously collected firewood and sold it in the market to make ends meet.

“Acquiring this machine restored my dignity as I was socially abandoned due to my status [as a divorced woman] and poverty. I hope to save and expand my business so that I can be able to take care of my family without having to depend on external help,” explained Layla.

Layla chose to start her tailoring business when she realized that although demand for the service was high, there were not enough tailors in her village. Now, she repairs and designs clothes. She hopes that the latter part of her trade will pick up to allow her make bigger profits to buy another sewing machine so as to expand her business and better take care of her family.

CARSP is a project that has embraced the use of unconditional cash transfers to deliver aid to families in need. Families are selected on a needs basis and are allowed to use the money they receive to prioritize their own needs and improve their living conditions.