‘’I did not get education and I didn’t have money but I believe and still believe my hands has power and it is capable to provide for me and my family’’-Halima Said
Women entrepreneurs have been an enormous growth industry in Somalia but still less is done to acknowledge the successful women from small businesses to bigger businesses. Over the previous years, women have been mostly the backbone of household income for their families and have created hundreds of jobs for the youths and the society in general. And because women issues are not given much consideration due to the discrimination and inequalities within the countries, they will still be hidden. Women who own or work for small scale businesses have contributed largely to Somalia economy and deserve to be recognized and supported by both government and the International community. In addition doing away with stereotypes that still infringe and see women as unproductive.
Halima Siad Cisse, is a 32 years old business woman born and lives in Galkacyo town. She is a single mother of a 12 years old daughter. Halima has never attended school but what she remembers was that she started having an interest in selling and buying goods when she was little. Halima remembers when she started working as business woman in town she was only 18. She found her peace and motivation while working in businesses and since then she made up her mind to continue to strive and get to live as a bigger entrepreneur in future.
Halima says “I love business because it’s one of the best jobs I can make legal money. I want to be big business women where I can provide for myself, my daughter and family. I want to support my extended family in case they ask me for help. Many people think of making money to buy big beautiful houses but for me I only need sufficient money for my income, my family income and lastly I want to visit the holy muslim kabaa in Saudi Arabia.’’
Halima has worked in several places since she was 18 years. She has worked as a general cleaner in several hotels; she also worked as a cleaner in Galkayo local municipality offices. Halima has worked as a sales person in a clothes shop for 3 years. Throughout the years she has been struggling to make sure she could provide for herself and her family and not beg or borrow from people.
One day Halima realized that whenever she visits the market, she could see things she loved but couldn’t afford. Therefore, she thought the only way she could buy herself what she loved is if she owned her own business. Halima started saving for years and in July, 2016, she had enough money which was 300USD to start up her own tea and refreshment shop in the middle of the town.
‘’’mehered Halima’ Halima tea shop is a small place shop where I cook and serve tea, coffee, food and also sell soft drinks and water. I am always happy with my business because it is mine and it provides for me and my family. I am able to pay for my food, my rent, my house and shop electricity bill and for medication. I am now able to pay for my daughters school fees.’’ Halima says while smiling.
Halima says’’ I always work 17 hours for 6 days since I opened my business in 2016 that is from 7.00 am in the morning to 11.00 pm in the evening. It is very tiring but I need the job to survive and provide for my family. I always feel happy serving people and seeing them smile after they quench their thirst and hunger. They motivate me to wake up the next morning to do what I love. Running my own business is amazing and encouraging even though it’s not big place, I still believe and look forward to have a bigger business that will enable me work half day at least.’’
Most of Halima customers are men like many other tea shop businesses in town but also few women visit to either buy stuffs from her or have a chitchat whenever they pass by on their way to the market. Halima is a charismatic lady and she wants to serve more women in future.
Halima loves it when most people come to buy tea, food or drinks from her because that’s how she gets frequent customers and also makes money.
Halima laughs and says ‘’ The biggest challenge with my business is when there are less customers coming to buy, which means less money for the day, this makes me a little sad and feel bored.’’
Halima is satisfied with her life currently but still struggling and pushing forward to move up the ladder. She tells girls and women not to sleeping but to wake up and start something or do something for themselves. She said that it’s funny that some people have money but don’t know where to start while others have the idea but have no money. She advices them to seek advice and follow their instincts and do what is important to their life and their families. Halima still lives with her father who tells her that she should not depend on people because they will never full fill all her wants and needs.
Halima Says ‘’Life takes people in many directions but I pray for everyone who is trying to get a better way .I did not get education and I didn’t have money but I believed and still believe my hands has power and are capable of providing for me and my family. I have not reached where I want but will continue to work harder and see where life will take me. Women need to be stronger than ever in this today’s environment. I hope my story will touch, empower and motivate our Somali women’’
For Halima who has beaten all odds is now realizing that business is her life and her life is revolving around business. She is now entering unchartered territory, the flight to greater heights as an entrepreneur has just begun for her.
By Bisharo A.Hussein