Fatima is an internally displaced person (IDP) from Mosul. She is 46 years old and a mother of eight
children - five girls and three boys. Two of her children are married and live on their own, while Fatima and her husband, who is physically disabled, live with their remaining six children in a rented house in the Etit subdistrict of Dohuk Governorate.
Immediately after Fatima got married she moved with her husband to Baghdad in search for a better life. Even then, Fatima was the one who provided for her family. When her family was still in Baghdad, Fatima started working in a kubba (traditional Iraqi food) factory, and ten years later she started her own kubba-making business next to her house. “I have spent my whole life forcibly moving from one place to the other.
During the Iran – Kuwait war in 1990, we fled to Baharka Camp (Erbil) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Life was very hard in the camp, as we were seven families in one small tent. After a horrible year in the camp, we decided to return to Baghdad but our house, along with my business, had been looted,” Fatima said.
Once again Fatima was jobless, and in 1996, the family moved to Mosul where she found work in a kubbamaking factory. She worked there for five years but received threats because she was a working woman. This forced Fatima to leave her job and stay at home. In 2012, the family fled Mosul for the KRI after receiving threats from an unknown group.
They arrived emptyhanded and initially stayed in an unfinished building for a year, after which they managed to rent a house in Etit. By that time, IOM was rolling out a livelihood programme to support skilled and vulnerable individuals like Fatima, and she was selected as one of IOM’s beneficiaries to start her own business.
Thanks to IOM’s support, Fatima is now not only able to support her family, but can also send her children to Dohuk’s High School and pay for her husband’s medical needs. “I am so happy that I can support my family and fulfil most of their needs.
The best thing is our new house. I had some savings from the sale of our house in Mosul but they were not sufficient to buy a new one. Now, two years after starting my own business, I have been able to buy a small house in Etit district and we will be moving soon,” says Fatima. She added that she is grateful to IOM for supporting women like her, who single-handedly support their families.t