UNIDO entrepreneurial training gives IDPs hope for future

Hadi Naif Sado left school at the age of 12 because he had to work to help support his family. Two years later, the Islamic State group (ISIS) invaded his family’s village near Sinjar and they had to flee. The 22-year-old is now living in a tent in Shekhan camp in Duhok province. This month, he is receiving some training that is finally allowing him to imagine a future for himself.

Hadi is one of 20 residents of Shekhan camp taking part in an entrepreneurial training course put on by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) project funded by the Japanese Government.

“There were things I missed because I didn’t go to school,” he said, halfway through the training that is giving him ambition for his future. “Now I’ve learned that if I fail once, I can try and rise up again.”

The 15-day training program, funded by the Japanese government, teaches entrepreneurial and business management skills. Participants learn to evaluate market needs and how they can create a business model that meets those needs. At the end of the training program, they will receive equipment and supplies towards establishing their own businesses.

Hadi has worked odd jobs for years - on construction sites, as a driver, in factories - but his dream is to have his own shop. His brother owns a photocopy shop and Hadi would like to follow in his footsteps.

In the UNIDO training, his vision of what is possible is expanding and he is incorporating innovations into his business model such as mobile services. And he’s learning the business and communication skills needed to make his vision a reality.

“I have confidence in myself now,” he said. “I’m confident in myself that I can manage my business very well.”

Rizgar Taha is the UNIDO trainer teaching Hadi and his classmates. Taha has been offering training courses over many years, but said this group in Shekhan camp is one of the most difficult in his career. The trainees are all from the Sinjar area of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province. They suffered horrible atrocities under ISIS.

“All the time, I see sadness in their eyes,” said Taha of the trainees who are haunted by the memories of the horrors of ISIS. Even the youth like Hadi were not optimistic about their futures. “They are under a lot of stress.”

The first half of the training program focuses on building confidence and exploring the characteristics of an entrepreneur. The second half gets into the practicalities of developing a business plan and marketing strategies. Taha said he extended the first part of the program in Shekhan camp because he felt this is what the trainees needed more, “to work on self-confidence.”

On the eighth day of the program, he said he was seeing progress. He has built trust with the trainees and they are more relaxed, enjoying the course. “Yesterday and the day before, they started to laugh,” he said.

Taha hopes the training will not just help them get a job or be self-employed, but think about building a better life, one where they feel secure and safe. “I just want them to come out of this training with some hope.”

Kani Kareem is building her confidence step-by-step. The 27-year-old is from Sinjar town where she had worked as a tailor in her sister’s shop until 2014 when she and her family fled from ISIS. In Shekhan camp, she married and has a five-year-old daughter.

Living in the camp, Kani has done a bit of sewing and has taught tailoring to other women. She is talented, but did not know how to develop her expertise into a viable business. Those are skills she is learning in the UNIDO training program. She registered for the course “because I want to promote my work, show my skills, establish my own shop.”

“From the beginning, I didn’t have confidence, but now I feel I’m stronger - competitive, innovative, motivated,” she said.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNIDO

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