After having fled her home with her family eight years, ago, Amina, mother of six, decided recently to return with her children to her home in Ar-Rastan city, Homs Governorate. The sole breadwinner of her family, Amina, a bright, optimistic and energetic 43-year old, decided to start her own business, and, with help from UNHCR, is now running a thriving store that helps her secure much needed income for her family. Her only wish is to continue to be able to support all her children, girls and boys, through school.
Before fleeing the escalating violence in her city, Amina was taking care of her children while her husband was working as a driver. But after the family had become internally displaced, Amina’s husband passed away. When she deemed it was safe enough, Amina decided to take her six young children and return to her home in Ar-Rastan even though her house was half destroyed.
With no job and no income, Amina and her little children lived in abject poverty for a few years. Having no other choice, Amina started working in a farm so that the family could survive, but the meagre income was not enough to cover the school costs.
Amina speaks to UNHCR’s Deputy Representative during her visit to Homs. © UNHCR/Saad Sawas
Amina, 43-year-old Syrian mother. © UNHCR/Saad Sawas
In 2020, given the vulnerability of the family, UNHCR supported Amina with a small grant and some training so that she could open a store selling household items. The shelves in the shop are full of neatly stacked colourful everyday items, such as plates, glasses, jugs and baskets, while a simple but uplifting drawing is covering a gaping hole in the wall. The little shop is thriving as clients from the neighbourhood walk in and out all day.
“This project changed my life. I am living now with no fear of tomorrow”, said Amina to UNHCR’s Deputy Representative during a recent visit. “I am grateful to God” says Amina, “I am happy to see my children attending school and my business flourishing! What more could I ask for?”
Amina’s family is among twenty-five vulnerable families who have received business support through a UNHCR-supported community centre in Ar-Rastan since 2020.