A Poultry Shop in a Refugee Camp

Hathim was receiving a delivery of a new batch of live chickens when we visited the poultry shop you just opened for him. He’d done incredibly well in the first 2 days of his fledgling business, in the camp where he lives with thousands of other Iraqis who were displaced by war and the arrival of ISIS.

He’d sold all of his 20 initial birds—feathered and dressed—in 2 days flat. His customers had also told him that they wanted larger chickens, so his second delivery was a bigger flock of heavier birds.

Hathim got help getting his chickens out of the truck and into his shop. Photo by Charlene Winfred/Preemptive Love

When we stepped into Hathim’s shop, his new chickens were pecking contentedly at the feed and water containers hanging from the tent’s roof beams. A third of the floor space is penned off for the birds to range around. The rest of the tidy space contains the equipment he uses for slaughter and dressing, neatly laid out.

Hathim’s new clutch of chickens in their pen. Photo by Charlene Winfred/Preemptive Love

Opening businesses in camps aren’t always straightforward. It’s not a case of people simply deciding what businesses they want to open, and then heading off to get supplies. Sometimes it’s brainstorming for a while to find a solution appropriate for a potential business owner. There are often permissions to apply for, approvals to obtain.

In Hathim’s case, the business he chose would also have to take his disability into consideration: he was born with a deformed leg.

People with disabilities in Iraq have an incredibly hard time finding work they can do. Being disabled as well as displaced makes the opportunity for work—already in extremely short supply for those in the camp—close to nonexistent.

Hathim poses for a photo in his new shop. Photo by Charlene Winfred/Preemptive Love

Hathim was discouraged when his first business idea was turned down by the camp authorities, but we worked with him to find an alternative that would fit his skills and abilities. Because of you, he was able to make another tent for his poultry shop right next to his house, so getting from work to home would be easier. And we’ll continue working with him to build the sustainability of his enterprise, because you make long term commitment to friends like Hathim possible.

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