Amina in her grocery shop in Holl Holl refugee camp in southern Djibouti. Photo: Klaus Bo / Danish Refugee Council

DRC grant has changed Amina’s life

Owning a business of her own is not something Amina Farhan Abdullahi ever envisioned would happen, when she arrived in the refugee camp. However, through the help of Danish Refugee Council’s business grant, the 36 year-old mother of six children now has her own business.


Amina and her husband are originally from Mogadishu, Somalia where they fled in 2010 following increased suicide attacks by al-Shabaab militants. She narrates the ordeal that made them make up their mind to leave their home country.

“I was at my grocery stall in the market when we heard a loud explosion. I was immediately thrown to the ground. People started running and I ran too,” explains Amina.

What followed was total confusion and panic as she continues to explain.

“I saw so many people lying on the ground. Friends, I could recognize. It was such a scary scene. I saw body parts and so much blood on the ground as I ran away.”

She pauses as she reflects on the ordeal of that day.

Amina and her husband managed to reconnect along the way and they managed to travel together by road and finally arrived in Ali Addeh camp in Djibouti.

Life before receiving the grant

She describes their early life in Ali Addeh camp as being difficult as they initially had to rely solely on the food rations provided to refugees.

“At the beginning of our stay here, it was very difficult. My husband became very ill soon after we arrived. We have been to the health center a couple of times but we still don’t know what his problem is,” explains Amina as she looks over at her husband who is sitting next to her in their grocery shop while their young boy looks on with curiosity.

As if life had not been tough enough, Amina unfortunately lost her unborn baby due to a pregnancy complication while she was admitted at a local hospital in Djibouti Ville.

“It was very painful to have lost the baby. My husband was at home with the other children but he was also sick,” she stops and looks away from her husband as if holding back tears.

“During this period, my children were going to the neighbors to borrow food since my husband was also sick and I was at the hospital in Djibouti,” narrates Amina.


Amina’s fate turned for the better when DRC staff passed by her house one day as they were going round the camps identifying vulnerable households to support them with unconditional grants for starting business.

“I am very thankful to DRC for this support. The assistance came just when we were at our worst moment,“ Amina continues.

As soon as she received the 100 USD that DRC was giving to beneficiaries who had gone through a training on business management in April, 2016, Amina bought two goats which she slaughtered and started a meat selling business.

“I used the profit from the meat business to buy stock to start this grocery shop. It was like a dream come true when we managed to start this because I had started to lose hope,” says Amina.

A brighter future

Amina is now very happy and well settled in the daily hassles of managing her grocery shop where she sells pasta, sugar, cereals, flip flops, shampoo, soap, wheat flour and candy. She explains that on average she makes about 3,000 to 4,000 Djiboutian Francs per day.

“It makes me so happy to be able to provide for my family. At least I have hope that our future will be better despite the difficult life here in the camp,” concludes Amina.