Berbera, Somaliland, January 2021 -   A struggling mother of three living in Somaliland’s port city of Berbera, has used cash transfers funded by the European Union to set up a new tailoring business.

Maryam Jama had been unable to continue her previous employment  selling sweets to pupils when schools closed due to COVID. In addition to her children, she also supported her 90-year-old uncle who lives with a disability.

In August she started receiving monthly cash transfers of USD 60 through the UN-Habitat-run Berbera Urban Development Project which aims to support recipients in Berbera who are suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures such as movement restrictions have hit many people’s livelihoods in the area.

 Maryam, who learnt how to sew from her mother, decided to put the funds to good use.

” I topped up the USD 120 I had received from the first two tranches of the cash transfer with an extra USD 70 which I borrowed from a friend and got enough to buy a sewing machine,” said Maryam who has been running the business for the past three months.

Within a month of starting, she was able to pay back the loan and had enough to take care of her family. She hopes to open her own tailoring shop in the market in the near future.

She also started selling nets as during the winter months from December to February there is an influx of mosquitoes.

The EU funded cash programme began in August last year and runs to the end of this month.