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Small business brings big changes for central Somali family

(ERGO) After 12 years working as a waiter in a restaurant, Abdirahman Bihi Osman, 38, decided to open his own business selling fresh fruit drinks in the central Somali town of Adado.

Abdirahman making fresh juice at his stall in Adado/Abdisalan Hassan/Ergo

Since last October, he has reached regular profits of $25 a day that means he no longer worries about making ends meet for his wife and two children and six nephews and nieces.

“There have been significant changes in our lives. We are doing well now and we take care of ourselves. If you have to depend on someone else they might switch off their phone or tell you they don’t have money and your family might sleep hungry,” he said.

He has enrolled the eight children under his care back in the local Horseed school, paying $80 for their school fees as well as buying uniforms, clothing and stationery.

Abdirahman started his business with $300 borrowed from his relatives.

“I asked a relative to lend me money when I had the idea. I wanted to open my own business as I have children and a wife. Now my business is working well. I have hired three other people to work here with me and I’ve repaid a third of the initial investment that I received,” he said.

He pays $5 a day to his three employees and knows what it is like having to forgo basic necessities including education for the children if you have either a menial job or no work at all.

“They (the employees) were people who came to the city and were looking for jobs. I decided to give them opportunities. Some of them have wives and children,” he said.

He has positioned his shop strategically beside a busy road in Adado, where he serves students, manual workers and travellers.

In January, he began also serving food, turning the juice stall into a small cafeteria. Beginning with fish and flat bread, he hopes to build his business into a fully-fledged restaurant.

The recent heavy rainfall and flash flooding has caused major setbacks for many businesses, including Abdirahman’s. The fresh produce he sources from Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions have not been able to reach Adado because of flooded roads.

He noted that only one food truck a week arrived in Adado at the height of the floods, causing high prices due to scarcity. He has had to source fruit from smaller farms locally in Adado.

Nevertheless, Abdirahman recommends going into business as a good way of breaking through from poverty to a decent way of living.

Source: Radio Ergo

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