Rising Above Challenges: Khadija’s Journey to Self-Reliance

June 13, 2024
©UNDP Syria - Abd Al-Malek Alabdullah

In the rural areas of Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria, Khadija, a resilient 39-year-old mother of four, has transformed her life through determination and hard work. Struggling with poverty and the lack of a stable income, Khadija faced significant challenges in providing for her family. Yet, she did not succumb to despair. Instead, she embarked on a journey to create a sustainable source of livelihood by starting a small poultry farming project.

“Starting this project with seriousness and dedication has given me a better life for myself and my family,” Khadija explains.

Khadija's initiative was accelerated by the support she received from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Entrepreneurship Development for Collective Social Businesses project. With funding from the Government of Japan, the project provided her with essential resources: chickens, hatchlings, fodder, and agricultural tools. This support laid the foundation for Khadija’s transformation from a struggling mother to a successful entrepreneur who is now on the path of turning her dreams into reality.

Khadija’s success was not a stroke of luck, but the result of meticulous planning and hard work. “I had to organize my time and balance my responsibilities as a mother and a businesswoman. I needed to increase production to expand my business,” she said.

Khadija's hard work and strategic approach enabled her to produce a steady supply of eggs and poultry meat, which she sold in the local market. The profits from her sales significantly improved her family's living conditions, providing them with the basic necessities they had previously struggled to afford. More importantly, she was able to ensure her children receive an education, fostering a brighter future for them. “My children have returned to school," Khadija proudly says, highlighting one of the many positive changes the project has brought to her life.

©UNDP Syria - Abdalmalek Alabdalaa

Khadija's journey was further enhanced by vocational and entrepreneurial training provided by the UNDP project. The training equipped her with the skills needed to optimize her poultry farming operations, from incubating eggs to managing the day-to-day aspects of the business. 

Her success did not stop at financial stability. Khadija became an example of hope and inspiration in her community. By sharing her experiences and knowledge, she encouraged other women to pursue their own entrepreneurial ventures. "I want to help other women become productive and contribute to our community," she says.

Her story is an example of how individual efforts, supported by strategic interventions, can lead to broader social and economic development. "This project has not only changed my life but has also given me the opportunity to help others,” Khadija said.

Khadija's contributions go beyond her family. By stabilizing her own household, she is also enhancing food security within her community. Her small poultry farm supplies local markets with fresh produce and serves as a model for sustainable agricultural practices.

Today, Khadija stands witness to the power of resilience and the impact of targeted support programmes. She is one of 57 people who have successfully entered the labour market as a result of the project. 

As Khadija continues to thrive, she remains dedicated to her vision of a self-sufficient and empowered community. Her journey from hardship to success is an inspiration, demonstrating that anyone can rise above their circumstances and make a lasting impact with support, education, and perseverance.