Thursday April 20, 2023
(ERGO) – Mohamud Mohamed Yusuf, 37, who gradually lost his hearing as he got older, was not able to find a job after graduating from Somville University with a degree in education in 2020.
Despite numerous job applications, he did not make it through any of the interviews due to communication challenges and perceptions that he would not be capable of fulfilling the requirements.
In January, however, he set up his own barber shop in Howlwadag district in Mogadishu with $1,000 sent to him by a cousin living outside the country.
“This business has changed my life as I used to depend on other people for a living. I faced a lot of problems, but now thank God, as I got this job, I can pay my children’s bills, rent, electricity and water bills,” he said.
Mohamud earns $10 a day that is enough for his family of four children. His father had been paying the fees for his two eldest in school but he is now able to pay the monthly fees of $30 himself.
Most of his customers at the barber shop are also deaf and they communicate using sign language. He has employed a co-worker with hearing ability to attend to other customers. Mohamud learnt his skills as an apprentice for six months at a barber shop in Hodan district.
“I looked for many jobs but everyone says you are deaf and we wouldn’t understand each other. They told me they can’t give me a job and I couldn’t do the work,” he explained.
Abdirahman Haji Abdulle, who is also hearing impaired, set up his own online sales business to earn a living. With $500 from a businessman, he established “Beec Fudud” where he sells a wide variety of goods including electronics, furniture, Tuk Tuk taxis, among other products, on Facebook and other social media sites.
He earns $200-250 a month that supports his six children, including paying $8 school fees and $40 house rent.
He had been depending on his mother who sells vegetables in Bakara market but her income was often too little to support them all even with food.
“Life was very difficult for me when I was unemployed, but now God has blessed me with my business. I used to have to ask other people for help even to take a Tuktuk ride!” he noted.
His niece answers the phone and takes orders for the business. He recalled the frustration of completing his secondary school in 2015 and learning car repairs but failing to find a job.
He learned about e-commerce from relatives and took some free courses from the Somali National Association of the Deaf (SONAD).
The chairman of SONAD, Muse Kadle Hassan, said they have 1,200 members living in Mogadishu and most are unable to find formal employment due to discrimination.
“I know many people with good certificates who do not have a job because of their hearing disability. This is because of the misunderstandings about the deaf community,” he said. “There are very few who work for companies or organisations. It can be said that their deafness leads to discrimination against them.”
Muse said about 200 SONAD members have set up their own businesses this year and are now able to support themselves and their families. The organisation encourages self-sufficiency.