Shekhan,Nineveh, Iraq. March 2017. A beneficary of IRC / UNwomen program that gives up to 1000 USD small business start up grants after a 9 day small business training program in which applicants must succefully form a business plan. She used her grant money to start up a hairdressing salon.
13:38 So, shall I talk about how things were before we arrived in Shekhan?
13:45 Yes, briefly.
13:47 When we first came here, things were bad for us. 13:49 I didn’t have the means to open a shop.
13:50 I had a beauty salon in Bashiqa. 13:53 A big one.
13:54 But here, I wasn’t able to open one because we didn’t have the means to do that. 13:59 I worked from home, but not many customers would come over. 14:02 Some customers came to me but for instance, brides didn’t. 14:05 Some girls came to get their hair done for parties, but not brides because their families wouldn’t accept to send them to me.
14:12 When I met Mr. Niwar,.. I registered with the organization. 14:18 He offered me help, so I asked if he could help me open a salon. 14:24 I mean it is a once in a lifetime project, and I love my work. 14:29 I registered with the organization and I succeeded in getting a grant.
14:34 I spent all the money on my project because it is my dream. 14:40 I would like to further develop my dream. 14:43 I want to improve my salon even more. 14:44 If not in Shekhan now, then in Bashiqa.
14:49 My teacher, the one who taught me hairdressing, went to Germany, we agreed to open a big salon or a compound even, when she gets back. 14:57 It will be for accessories, hairdressing, nails, and everything. 15:03 This is our joint dream. 15:05 We will do that together and we will open the salon when we go back to Bashiqa.
15:15 My experience with the course… 15:18 before I took it, I didn’t know anything about accounting, or how to organize the business. 15:22 They taught me all those things, and how to calculate my profit or losses so that no one takes advantage of me.
15:33 Excuse me.
15:34 So this has helped me a great deal. 15:37 So now whenever I perform a job or hire someone to maintain the shop, I keep notes of everything, of what I made or what I spent. 15:49 Also, I learned how to save money.
15:51 Thank God, it has been a blessing from God. 15:54 I get customers and I get bride customers too. 15:57 Today I haven’t had any customers because I had made room for this interview in my schedule.
16:04 With the help of the committee, I have learned things I hadn’t known about before and now I make more profit.
16:33 No, at the beginning I never felt safe. After we left, I didn’t feel safe. 16:36 When Bashiqa was liberated we felt safer. 16:40 We felt safe enough to come and go as we pleased.
17:07 It was good and bad. 17:10 Everyone in Bashiqa, Barzan, and Sinjar had money but didn’t spend any of it. 17:17 We didn’t have money. 17:20 My husband would work or I would work a little and we got by.
17:25 But gradually we got used to the place and the people, and now they can’t imagine their lives without us. 17:31 At the beginning when we didn’t know each other things were very difficult, but now things are different. 17:35 We got better acquainted.
17:40 Yes, and now people tell us they would like to come visit Bashiqa. 17:42 It was very difficult at the beginning.
18:19 I told my husband I won’t go back to Bashiqa until I have established my business fully because work here is better. 18:27 Because things are bad in Bashiqa. 18:30 I have customers now from many areas, such as …, Mahad, Alqosh, and other places. 18:39 They have become regulars and they come and visit me. 18:42 I will not leave this place before I establish myself well. 18:46 I wish to make my dream come true before I go back to Bashiqa.
18:58 Yes, of course.
19:02 At first, they didn’t know me and didn’t know my work but gradually they started to know more about me with each visit. 19:08 A reputation started to form about me as people started to tell each other about the quality of my work.
19:14 There is another beauty salon here called Berivan Salon, but unfortunately the woman there doesn’t do a great job. 19:19 She doesn’t use advanced techniques, unlike in Bashiqa and Barzani where hairdressers used to develop their skills continuously and they used to learn new hair and makeup styles to attract customers. 19:31 Also you should be able to accommodate what the customer wants. 19:32 They usually have an opinion and I also tell them my opinion, and this helps develop my work. 19:39 I also have hair and makeup videos to make sure that the customer sees my work. 19:43 So, if she doesn’t get to see my work directly, she can watch a video on her mobile phone so that she knows what I have available in my salon.
20:06 Some girls come to me to be trained here.
20:11 So, the hairstylist usually takes money to train them and give them a training course. 20:17 So a girl would have a 3-month course at 150, so they charge 50 per month.
20:25 But I felt like I needed to help these girls just as the committee had helped me, and my friend had helped me free of charge. 20:32 So, I decided not to charge them for the training because they help me and I help them. 20:35 So I teach them my trade until they get better, so they don’t really have a long time left to spend here. 20:43 So when everyone goes back home to Bashiqa they would be ready to work, and they already know everything including straightening and dying hair and all that. 20:52 These are my special helpers.
20:54 So when I need them, they come to help me. 20:59 A week ago we had a job at 12 AM and we worked until 8 AM. 21:05 So the work is hard and requires that they stay with me sometimes for long hours. 21:08 Thank God, they are good girls, and they know everything by now.
21:11 This friend of mine who helps me with hairstyling; she is a hairstylist. 21:17 Sometimes I ask her to come and help me. 21:20 She has her own shop but it’s not doing very well, so I wanted to help her out. 21:26 And the girls are good too.
21:39 In the end I would like to thank the organization for its help.
21:53 Of course.
21:53 The most important thing is to help others. 21:58 So had it not been for the organization, I wouldn’t have found a job. 22:02 I would have stayed at home working only a little. 22:06 Had it not been for the organization I wouldn’t have had this better job. 22:08 So thank God I found work through the organization.
22:11 Thank God.
22:13 If one wants to live life fully, she should work to fulfil her dreams, and I wish to keep improving. 22:18 I have the ambition to surpass my current success.
22:21 I thank the organization so much, and especially … 22:28 Had they not worked to support poor people we wouldn’t have achieved what we did.
22:33 Some poor women who come to help me ask me why I haven’t told them about the organization, because they also would like to work. 22:40 The organization still searches for new projects but not at the moment. 22:44 … in Bashiqa. 22:51 But the ARC organization is the best. 22:54 All the girls are happy with it because they help the poor.
22:57 Without the organization no one would have been successful. 23:03 So I extend my most sincere thanks to them. 23:06 I don’t know how to express how grateful I am for their help.