Despite economic setbacks caused by the ISIL conflict, COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, Raid's bakery in Tal Abta continues to thrive.
Raid's Bakery: A tale of perseverance and hope
March 9, 2023
Born in Tal Abta, Ninewa, 39-year-old Raid had always dreamed of owning his bakery. After the liberation of his town from ISIL, Raid and his family were displaced to an internally displaced camp. When they returned, Raid saw an opportunity to start his bakery business and provide for his family. He began by providing bread to the army and police, but as his reputation grew, so did his customer base.
"Starting a business from scratch is never easy, but I was determined to make it work for my family and our future," says Raid.
Restarting his business
Raid started his business in a small shop in the market. However, he faced many challenges, especially with the high price of flour. He had to find a way to make ends meet while providing for his family. Despite the challenges, he persevered and continued to provide fresh, delicious bread to his customers.
"Baking is not just a job for me, it's a passion. I love creating new recipes and seeing my customers enjoy my bread," says Raid.
Moving to the municipality market
When Raid heard about the municipality shops that were rehabilitated by UNDP's Funding Facility for Stabilization, he saw an opportunity to expand his business. He moved his bakery to one of these shops and found that it was better equipped and more spacious than his previous shop. The rent was also cheaper, which allowed him to increase his profits.
Supporting businesses like Raid's, UNDP has rebuilt sixty shops in Tal Abta that includes a vegetable market with the capacity to hold 50 vendors. “The support from the municipality shops has been crucial to my success. I'm grateful for the opportunity to run my business in such a great location," says Raid. This will also help formalize micro businesses in the region and contribute to sustainable livelihoods creation.
Impact of COVID-19 and the Ukraine Conflict
Like many businesses around the world, Raid's bakery was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With restaurants closing and fewer people going out, the demand for his bread decreased. Additionally, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has affected the price of flour, making it more difficult for him to maintain his profits.
"The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, but I believe we can overcome it with creativity and determination. I'm already working on new bread recipes to keep things fresh," says Raid. "It's tough to see the price of flour go up due to the conflict in Ukraine, but I'm not giving up. I'm finding ways to make it work and keep my business going strong."
Today, despite the odds, Raid’s bakery is earning three times more than what he was making before the ISIL conflict. He has now expanded his bakery and employs three others.
Raid's big plans
Raid has big dreams for his bakery. He hopes to expand his business and supply bread to more restaurants in the future. He also wants to create new and innovative bread recipes to keep his customers coming back. Most importantly, he wants to continue providing for his family and building a better future for them.
"As a business owner, you have to be adaptable. The challenges are always changing, but if you're willing to try new things, you can overcome them," says Raid.
Message to other business owners
Raid believes that other business owners should take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. He encourages them to start their own businesses and make use of the municipality shops. With hard work and determination, he believes that anyone can achieve their dreams.
"To other business owners out there, I say: never give up on your dreams. Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, and work hard to make them a reality," says Raid.
Raid's story is one of perseverance and hope. Despite facing many challenges, he never gave up on his dream of owning a bakery. With the help of the municipality shops, he was able to expand his business and provide for his family. Raid's story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of determination. As he looks towards the future, Raid remains optimistic about what's to come.
"I know there will be more challenges ahead, but I'm ready for them. I'm excited to see where my bakery can go, and I'm grateful for the chance to do what I love every day," he says.
Raid's bakery continues to thrive in the municipality shops, and his dedication to his craft serves as an inspiration to all who know him. His story is a reminder that with hard work and determination, anything is possible, even in the face of adversity.
The municipality shop in Tal Abta was left severely damaged during the ISIL conflict. The facility was rehabilitated through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, with generous funding provided by Government of Cananda.
Since 2015, the Facility has worked with the Government of Iraq and local actors to ensure safe, dignified, and voluntary returns and to lay the foundation for successfully reintegrating displaced populations into the community. To date, around 3,500 stabilization projects have been completed.