Ahmed ,30 years old, is from Mualla district in Aden. He lives with his father, mother and younger brother in a small house. Ahmed was born with a defect in his four limbs. Since then, an armchair has become Ahmed’s loyal friend he uses to go to different places where he can finish his studies and find support to his family.
"I was born like that. I cannot use my legs because they are deformed so are my hands and arms Despite all of that, I still can use my hands to catch things." Ahmed said.
Ahmed has always been passionate about engineering since an early age of his childhood. Despite being disabled, Ahmed perseverance with no regards to discouragement of previous failure has helped him overcome many challenges preventing him of becoming an important member of his community. "My friends used to come to me every morning, pushing my wheelchair to school. I was very much ambitious and wanted to become an engineer when I grow up. I used to fix many electrical devices at home and help many friends identifying issues they had with their phones." He said.
However, the deformation in Ahmed's limbs made joining Engineering seems impossible due to remote location of the Faculty which was in the outskirt of the city. “I went for sociology as it was my second favorite major, but engineering was always there in my blood." Ahmed said and went on explaining: "It seemed strange to many students at the Faculty that a person like me would survive finishing four academic years of college. However, being sociable and friendly with everyone, I coped with the situation and owned the respect of my friends who also played a major role in my current success”.
The academic studies of Ahmed did not cut down his passion towards electronics. He started thinking of building his mobile phones maintenance capacity so that he can work in the same field of his interest, provide an income and unburden the financial pressures of his studies on his father.
"My father and mother are retired and their salary is barely enough to pay for basic needs of my family. " Ahmed said and went on "I always wanted to start a small business and generate an income that supports the whole family. Therefore, my ultimate dream was to find a grant that helps me achieving the goal of becoming independent though opening my small store for mobile maintenance.
In August 2017, Ahmed heard about the UNDP's Yemen Stabilisation Programme in the social media. He applied for a grant to open his own micro-business in mobile maintenance and accessories vending. He was interviewed and accepted to join the Programme.
Ahmed was included in a vocational training on mobile maintenance for 40 days. As well, he was given a business training by For All Foundation Foundation (FAF), UNDP's implementing partner.
After that, Ahmed was able to develop an execution plan for his micro-business and given 800 USD to start implementing his project.
"The vocational and business training courses widened my knowledge in mobile maintenance and running a small business. In addition, the grant made my dream comes true." Ahmed said with enthusiasm. "I devoted part of the front side of my family's house as a store and bought the maintenance equipment and accessories. The people come to me to fix their mobile phones, buy accessories or charge their phones with credits. They also come to pay off their landline phone and internet bills through a system I have in my computer, in return for small fees."
"I am self-reliant now. I pay the needs of my college studies from the money I make from my own business. My family and friends are all proud of me that I could beat the physical disability by reaching my target. People now trust me that I can fix their mobile phones successfully." He said, "Thanks to the government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme and For All Foundation for helping me bring my dream true and generate a stable income for me."
"My next plan is to improve my capabilities and skills through taking additional courses on computer maintenance and English language. I also will work hard to expand my business in the future." Ahmed said concluding.