Success Calling in Kilo 26 Camp


Mubarek using his start-up kit to repair mobile phones in Kilo 26 (Photo: UNHCR/L. Pattison)

Mubarek, 23, repairs mobile phones in Kilo 26 refugee camp in Kassala, Eastern Sudan. In 2012, he was selected to take part in a mobile phone repair course under the Transitional Solutions Initiative (TSI) framework. Since then, Mubarek has put his valuable new skills to use to better his family’s life.

Fleeing civil war in Eritrea during the 80s, Mubarek’s parents found refuge in Eastern Sudan and settled in Kilo 26 camp, where Mubarak, their second son, was born. Approximately 74,000 protracted refugees live in camps in the East, 58% of whom were born in Sudan. When Mubarek and his brother reached adulthood, his family’s food assistance from WFP ended, as they were no longer eligible for support with Mubarek and his brother now being of working age.

Mubarek struggled to make a living, working in farms surrounding Kilo 26 camp and a bakery. “Working in the bakery wasn’t stable. I never knew if they wanted me for one, two or four days a week, and sometimes they didn’t need me at all. It was so difficult to support my elderly parents and three siblings without stability.” He even tried his hand at running his own shop selling sugar and soap, but despite his determination and efforts, his shop went bankrupt in the face of stiff competition.

Highlights

  • Approximately 74,000 protracted refugees live in camps in the East, 58% of whom were born in Sudan.
  • he TSI, implemented by UNDP and UNHCR, seeks to improve the self-sufficiency of host communities, refugees and IDPs living in a protracted situation through vocational training and business development support.
  • 65% of trainees have secured employment relating to their training after graduation.

Mubarek’s life changed when he was given the chance to study mobile phone repair with the Sudanese Red Crescent as part of the TSI’s livelihoods intervention.

“I used to do simple repairs, but the course provided me with the technical know-how to do more complicated things. It really helped me, and I thank God I had the opportunity to take part.”

The TSI, implemented by UNDP and UNHCR, seeks to improve the self-sufficiency of host communities, refugees and IDPs living in a protracted situation through vocational training and business development support. 65% of trainees have secured employment relating to their training after graduation.

On graduating, Mubarek was provided with a start- up kit to put his acquired skills into practice, and he entered into business with his older brother. Together, they rent a small shop in Kilo 26 camp where Mubarek repairs phones and his brother sells staple items. “The kit allowed me to start my own business. At the bakery, I earned around 15 SDG (US$ 2.30) a day, but now I make about 40 to 50 SDG (US$ 7-8). The course increased my income, gave me independence and improved my job security.”