Read how 19-year-old Mona from Tooz in Salah al-Din is the first woman to start a mobile repair shop in her neighborhood.
First woman to start a mobile repair shop in Tooz
September 26, 2022
Looking to repair your mobile phone in Tooz? Look no further, as Mona Majeed's mobile repair store is now open for business. The 19-year-old is the first woman to have opened a mobile repair and accessories store in Tooz, Salah al-Din.
However, it has been an uphill climb for Mona to get here. Originally from the outskirts of Tooz, Mona was forced to flee with her family during the ISIL conflict. "We lost all our money during the conflict as we had to flee and leave our belongings behind. We had to start from scratch. It was with my husband's help I was able to open the store. He had to work as a daily wager to save open for the store," she says.
Although both Iraqi men and women own phones, the repair market is predominately dominated by men. Mona received a lot of backlash and resistance from her community when she decided to open the store. "I was able to overcome these difficulties." She believes that starting the store not just confronts gender norms but also inspires other women in her community.
Mona received business development training and a start-up grant from UNDP. She received a five-day long business training course, followed by a grant of US$ 1,000.
"I was able to open this store thanks to the business development training and start-up grant I received. This helped me purchase the repair tools I needed to start the store. While the training helped me understand how to run a business and track income, expenses and profits. I also learnt to balance profits and investing in my shop's growth."
A natural self-starter, Mona learnt to repair different mobile phones through online tutorials and videos. "I would watch videos online to find solutions to repair different models of phones. I used the profits to stock up on mobile phone accessories. This has helped boost my business."
Today, Mona earns a profit of nearly IQD 500,000 (approximately US$ 400). "My husband requires eye surgery. I hope to be able to save enough for the surgery and also expand the store and its services."
In a short period, Mona has been able to build a loyal customer base and increase her household income. "I have at least six to eight customers every day. With my earnings, I can cover all expenses for the house, including the rent." She also earns enough to be able to hire someone to help her manage the store.
Creating grant opportunities helps women like Mona realize their full potential. "I want to encourage more women to start such businesses, even if it is small. I want Iraqi women to defy the idea that only men can work."
The project is implemented by UNDP's Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme, in partnership with World Vision, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), provided through KFW Development Bank. Over 980 people, like Mona from Tooz, have received business development and grant support.
*Names have been changed to protect people.