29-year-old Ahmad sits in his sewing studio at home. | © D.Ginsberg / HI
After being injured in the Syrian crisis, Ahmad could no longer work as a manufacturing tailor. HI provided him with the training and resources to build a successful business from home.
29-year old Ahmad is a Syrian refugee. He was born without a disability, but during the Syrian crisis his leg was injured by shrapnel from an explosive weapon, leaving him with a physical disability. Later in life, he fell from the third floor of a building, which caused broken vertebrae in his backbone, severe tendon spasms and pain in his leg. At the time, he had been working as a tailor for a clothing manufacturing company, but the pain in his leg made it difficult to leave home and impossible to continue the long hours his job required.
“During this time, I received strong support from my family,” says Ahmad, who lives with his wife and three children: two boys and a girl. “Especially from my wife, who worked as a volunteer to stay by my side while I could not work.”
Ahmad began working with HI for various services. First, he received rehabilitation services such as physical therapy sessions to reduce his pain and increase his mobility. He was later referred to HI’s livelihood support activities to help Ahmad find suitable employment.
“We visited Ahmad at home to learn about his economic situation and his skills,” explains Shaima Anabtawi, HI inclusive livelihood officer. “He explained that he wanted to improve his English skills, understand his rights as a person with a disability, increase his ability to communicate and learn to better integrate into society. He also showed a great interest in continuing tailoring, and wanted to start his own business. We developed an individual action plan based on the assessment and his aspirations.”
Ahmad had only attended primary school, where he learned to read and write, but his education had stopped there. With HI, Ahmad began training courses designed to support his business plan, budget development and teach him how to be self-employed. He also received coaching, mentorship and financial support throughout the process, including the purchase of his business materials such as a sewing machine, scissors, an iron and raw fabrics. Finally, to reach more customers, he learned essential computer skills to promote his products online through e-marketing and social media.
Today, Ahmad operates his own sewing business from home. Initially he planned to make only blankets, bed covers, pillowcases, and Arabic sofas, but he is now expanding his business to include women’s clothing. Only one month after starting his home business, he was able to buy a second sewing machine for his wife. They hope to work together to continue growing the business and meet more orders as a team.
The income he receives has enabled him to purchase a walking frame and cane to help him move around. He is also proud that he can make some changes for his family.
“My previous house was small and there was humidity in the walls, which is not healthy for my children. After selling enough products with my home business, it gave me the push to change my house. We now live in a bigger, healthier house than before.”
Ahmad plans to share his success with his community as well. "Currently, I have an agreement with one of the local organizations to teach sewing/tailoring to women, and I am happy to support anyone who needs help in sewing. I am very grateful to HI for supporting persons with disabilities.”
 Two of Ahmad’s children also have disabilities