Taha is a thirty-eight year old Yazidi man from Sinjar in Northern Iraq. When Sinjar was invaded and occupied by ISIS, Taha, along with his wife and four children, fled to safety to Derkar in Duhok Governorate.
Before fleeing his home, Taha worked in a small animal feed factory in Sinjar. While he was grateful that he and his family had found safety in Duhok he struggled to support them as there were no jobs and his family had to survive on occasional daily labour, and limited help from neighbours. This is a period that Taha says he never wants to live through again.
A fellow Yazidi told Taha that GOAL was offering training and grants for people who wanted to start their own small businesses. He immediately thought of his own experience working in an animal feed factory. He had noticed that there was no animal feed being produced locally in Derkar, and that farmers were restricted to what they could transport from other areas sometimes at a greater cost. Taha decided to apply for the training and grant so that he could set up his own animal feed production business.
With the grant, Taha and his business partner bought a machine and rented a small premises to start a feed factory. Taha says he chose a feed factory with the people of Derkar in mind. “Most people living here raise poultry or livestock, and in order to get feed, they have to drive for 20 minutes to Zakho center. But now that my business is here people are very happy to buy feed near their homes.”
“I had experience of producing animal feed and the small business training that GOAL provided filled the gaps in my knowledge. It basically helped me to think like a business man and to consider the communities needs in order to establish a sustainable business.”
“I never thought someone like me who fled from Sinjar, an internally displaced person with a very small chance of earning an income to provide for my family, could have a business and be able to support and help my small family, and now my second bigger family – the Derkar people who have welcomed me to their community. I’m beyond happy to help them in my own way.”
Taha now has customers from not only Derkar and Zakho district, but also from different parts of Duhok governorate.
"GOAL helped me by providing funds to start my business. But for me GOALs impact is more than that, they helped me to trust in my abilities and depend on myself. Those were the things I lost in the two years since I fled Sinjar.”
Taha is one of 444 individuals who benefited from the livelihoods programme through Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) funding in Iraq. The programme reached almost 1,000 people in Iraq, helping them re-establish their lives after conflict forced them from their homes. GOAL has worked in Iraq since 2015 in the Kurdish Region and Baghdad working on strengthening livelihoods in vulnerable communities.