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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Unemployed Emiratis turn to enterprise and entrepreneurship to support families

Fujairah fair aims to give family firms a platform to sell goods 

FUJAIRAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOV 15:

Umm Khammas exhibits her home made dishes at Fujairah exhibition on Wednesday.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: RUBA HAZA
Section: NA
FUJAIRAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOV 15: Umm Khammas exhibits her home made dishes at Fujairah exhibition on Wednesday. (Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National) Reporter: RUBA HAZA Section: NA

Enterprising Emiratis who are out of work are turning to part time businesses to boost their finances and try their hand at entrepreneurship.

At the IFujairah exhibition, small family firms showed off their wares, from home-baked sweets to hand-made crafts.

Sakina Al Haji and her husband Mubarak Al Mismari are turning used tyres and metal barrels into seats and tables.

They had the idea four years ago after failing to find any jobs in their local area.

“My husband used to work as a serviceman at the military but not anymore, we receive around Dh6,000 each month but we can’t cover all the expenses with this amount,” said Ms Al Haji, a 43-year-old Emirati mother of three.

“I have two kids in school and one married, and expenses are getting higher and higher.”

The Al Mismaris is one of the 30 families who participated in the exhibition, aimed at giving low-income families at sales platform and exposure to customers.

Government jobs and positions in the police are sought after, but can only employ so many, and the authorities do urge UAE nationals to look at private sector positions.

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“My son-in-law and my granddaughter are living with us, me and my husband are supporting seven people living in the same house and no one is employed, that’s why we had to come up with something to earn a living and pay the bills,” she said.

Her husband said that they use used and unwanted metal barrels to create seating sets and barbecue grills.

“I go to factories to get the used metal barrels to turn them into seats or grills," he said.

FUJAIRAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOV 15:

Umm Khammas exhibits her home made dishes at Fujairah exhibition on Wednesday.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: RUBA HAZA
Section: NA
Umm Khammas exhibits her home made dishes at Fujairah exhibition. Reem Mohammed / The National

"My wife designs the seat pads using sponge and fabric and I cut the barrel to form a couch or a seat. The process requires hard work, resources and money,” said Mr Al Mismari, 49

“We use almost the same process with the tyres, but sometimes we sell only few pieces so we can’t rely on such business all the time,” he added

Ms Al Haji also uses her cooking skills to provide a steady income that would keep her husband’s work going.

And she realises that social media is the best platform to promote their business.

“He needs tools and money to keep his work going so I decided to open an Instagram account to offer cooking courses and take food orders in Fujairah,” she said.

“We are doing our best but we need more support in order to keep our business running and fulfil our family basic needs."

Halima Ali, another low-income Emirati woman participating in the exhibition, said that she started to take food orders in 2004 after her husband left his job.

“My husband had to leave his job and couldn’t find another. I tried to find one myself but It’s really hard to find a suitable job and stay away from home for nine hours when you have eight children,” said Ms Ali, 47.

“After losing hope, I started looking for a business that doesn’t require thousands of dirhams in order to be established and decided to use my cooking skills. I started offering homemade sweets and food with reasonable prices to neighbours and relatives.”

Ms Ali kept her business going for around 13 years and now supports the whole family.

“Four of my children got married and four are still studying. My husband is working as a freelancer now but I’m the one who is providing a steady income to the family. We get financial support from the government but it’s not enough,” said Ms Ali.

“I hope to get the support I need in order to fulfil my dream and open a culinary centre that provides traditional and international cooking classes to everyone, but especially to low-income women in order to help them establish their own business,” she added

The IFujairah, which concludes tonight at10pm, was organised by Fujairah Municipality and Fujairah Welfare Association.

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