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Pasta Green Restaurant

A woman sitting at a table

In Yemen, even though women are struggling to survive, they are not losing hope. Every day they are bravely fighting for their survival, as well as making extraordinary efforts to correct societal misconceptions of women.

Nearly five years of war in Yemen have devastated the country and left 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, three quarters of the population. Behind these numbers, there are millions of stories of poverty, sadness, struggle and pain. Today each family in Yemen is trying one way or another to survive. Yet Yemeni women are cautiously fighting to find a glimmer of hope.

One woman, 27-year-old Khadra Hussein Gobel, is making exceptional efforts to cope with the situation and to fight norms. With every step she has taken she has opened the petal of a flower and here she shares her inspiring story.

A woman sitting at a table with a chef figurine
Khadra sitting at a table in her restaurant, Pasta Green

“I started thinking about business after graduating from high school, so I established a class for teaching children in my home,” she says. “And after one year I started to work in my home kitchen, selling meals to neighbours and celebrations.”

This was how Khadra entered into the business world. It was her dream to start a restaurant, so she sold all her jewellery and collected her savings, as well as borrowing money from her family. A year before the beginning of the conflict, in 2015, she was able to open her restaurant, Pasta Green in Aden. It was a big success.

But then the war started and disrupted the lives of millions of Yemeni people. Khadra’s restaurant was one of the casualties – it stopped working after just one year.

“When the conflict in Aden ended in 2016, I was unable to reopen the restaurant due to a lack of money. I couldn’t pay my debts, rent and staff salaries,” says Khadra. “But then, a miracle happened and I participated in a CARE project.”

With funding from the H&M Foundation, CARE’s project gave business training to women entrepreneurs, as well as loans to help them establish their own businesses.

“I received a training in how to manage my business,” says Khadra. “Meeting other women like me was very inspiring and motivating; it made me feel that I am not alone in this battle. I was also able to get a loan which helped me to cover all my expenses, and bring the restaurant back to work. This petal I opened was the petal of inspiration and motivation.”

Khadra says that looking back at her life she has learned valuable lessons. ”With every struggle, I learned something, and I will keep learning until my last breath. Thank you very much to CARE for helping me, and I hope that next I will be able to buy a mobile food cart,” she says with eyes full of hope.

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