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Never give up on your dreams

A woman with a black head covering

25-year-old Malak works as an assistant teacher

25-year-old Malak works as an assistant teacher

“The worst thing to a human being is not to be satisfied and not planning on having any self-development,” says 25-year-old Malak* Nasser from Tuban, a district in Lahj governate, Yemen.

Malak has lived with her mother and brother in her grandfather’s house since her childhood. Her father passed away when she was twelve. The family depended on her grandparent’s salary even after their death and that of Malak’s only brother. Unfortunately, he also passed away two years ago. Malak says: “After the death of my grandfather six years ago, we have been receiving his pension of 50 thousand Yemeni Rial. My mother raised and taught us alone. We are happy with our simple life.”

Malak graduated from the English language department at Aden University. She then worked voluntarily as an assistant teacher. “Thanks to my mother and my aunt’s help, I could finish college,” she says. “It was very challenging, I sometimes didn’t have any money to take a bus to go to college, so I used to walk.”

A woman wearing a black face covering holding a card
After receiving the financial grant, Malak started to bake and sell cakes from home

“Because of my love for making cakes and pastries, I thought about starting a small bakery business,” says Malak. “I had one friend who works in this field, so I asked her to teach me professional baking, but she asked for a lot of money (half a million Yemeni rial) to do so. That deeply hurt me, yet boosted my determination to learn by myself, so I started to make cakes for my family and neighbours for free just to sharpen my skills. A while later, one of my college teachers noticed the great effort I was making to learn baking and in marketing my cakes, so she decided to show me how to do professional cake decoration. I’m forever grateful for her help,” she says.

CARE and UNDP have partnered to create sustainable livelihoods for crisis-affected communities through the Supporting Resilient Livelihoods and Food Security in Yemen joint Programme (ERRY II), which is funded by European Union and SIDA.

“Through the ERRY project, I was enrolled in a ten-day training,” says Malak. “The training was held via WhatsApp to keep us safe during the Covid pandemic, but it was very useful. We learned how to run an enterprise as well as how to manage capital, profits and sales. I also received a cash grant of 336,000 Yemeni Riyal to buy baking equipment and accessories.”

“Thanks to CARE’s and UNDP’s support, now I have a lot of cake orders,” says Malak. “I earn approximately 100,000 Yemeni Rial per month as a net profit. Now I can buy whatever I and my widowed mother need. I hope to expand my business and reach more customers. I promised myself that I would help anyone interested in learning a skill that I master,” she concludes.


*Name changed

A woman wearing a head covering holding a can of food
Malak proudly shows her products
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