Food aid recipient turned entrepreneur

With help from a World Vision food program, Madina can now provide a better life for her family through her new business.

Although a tiny woman, Madina, 50, is full of energy. Her hands swing with grand gestures and her face is full of expression as she explains how she benefited from a World Vision food aid program to become a successful business owner in just five months.

“I was born near here,” she says, waving towards the vast expanse of scrub bush and rocky desert that surround her town in rural Somalia. “I tended livestock. I was running after goats and camels.” 
Madina moved to the town when her firstborn child was five. Now, she is a mother of nine children, aged 9-35, and grandmother of four – three boys and a girl.

To support her family, Madina used to collect and sell firewood, and make fried breads called chapati and injera to sell. But she struggled to get by and was unable to save enough to provide a better life for her children.

When World Vision started a Food for Work program in her village, Madina joined a work crew to build a community dam and feeder roads. The dam will help prevent frequent flooding from nearby pastures, while roads damaged by recent cyclones have been rehabilitated.

The program is helping to build sustainable community infrastructure that will help prevent food shortages in the long term, as well as meeting the immediate needs of 1,450 households in ten villages through food vouchers.

Madina received food vouchers in exchange for work in the program. With this assistance, she had the flexibility she needed to save money to start her own business, a general store.

The benefits of Madina's business 

For five months Madina has been selling canned goods, rice, grain, pasta, fresh limes, garlic, batteries, torches, floor mats, clothing and more.

“My children help me run the shop,” she says.

Now this enterprising woman has created a better future for her family. She says the program has changed her life.

“Very much,” she says. “It is improving our economic situation … You have a business and you have something to give, something to share … Before I went to other people’s shops. Now people are coming to me. 

“Now it’s possible to buy the things my children need. We got a real benefit from the program and now we are hoping to get more,” she says. 

But that’s not the only change. “I’m studying now,” she says proudly. “I never studied before.”

Through a World Vision literacy and numeracy project, Madina has learned to read, write and do maths. Now she can calculate prices, wholesale costs and profits for her business.  

Madina has come a long way in just five months. With just a little help, she can now look forward to being a successful businesswoman for many years to come.

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How the program has helped Madina’s community in the long term


cubic metres

of stone dams completed to help prevent flooding



of dirt-gravel feeder roads rehabilitated



of pasture land reseeded