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 Tie and dye for self-reliance


Just near a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Hargeisa stands the AAH Somalia/Somaliland Basic Skills and Production Centre. Several women hold pieces of white fabric, intricately tying them in preparation for dyeing. The women, all Somali returnees, have been participating in a tie-and-dye training from 10th February 2017.


The centre is part of AAH Somalia/Somaliland’s ‘Integrated approach to promote, increase social self-reliance and livelihood opportunities among returnee and returnee hosting communities in Hargeisa, Somaliland’ project. The project, supported by UNHCR, is targeting 500 returnees and 150 hosting community members who lack employability skills and capital to pursue viable economic opportunities.


AAH Somalia tie and dye

Somali returnees from Yemen hanging fabric to dry after a tie and dye training 


Trainer Fadumo with trainees AAH Somalia

Trainer Fadumo Ahmed (seated) with trainees during the training


“The theoretical and practical modules in the training include basic tie and dye techniques and a step-by-step guide of the process, colour mixing, pattern design for clothes such as deras, shawls and saris and home business set up, with information on suppliers of dye and equipment, pricing and marketing,” says the trainer, Fadumo Ahmed Cumar, a refugee from Ethiopia.


 Somali returnees from Yemen are learning theoretical and practical skills in running a tie and dye business


“I look forward to learning this skill so that I can begin my own business here in Hargeisa. I haven’t been able to find a job since I returned home from Yemen in 2015. I want to be self-reliant and provide for my family,” says Halima Aden Duale, one of the trainees at the centre. Halima fled the civil war in Somalia in 2011 and went to Yemen with her husband and three children. She returned to Somaliland in 2015. 


In the long term, AAH Somalia/Somaliland plans to expand vocational production aligned with market demand and quality assurance to include training in masonry, pastry making, painting and interior design, dress-making and embroidery and electrical wiremanship. Trainees will also be trained in basic business skills.

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.