Woman Gets New Lease on Life after Fire Destroys Her Business

Action Against Hunger helps Sudanese mother re-start small teashop and generate income for her family

Four years ago Adut Mawien Dut’s business burned to the ground in a fire that also destroyed other small businesses in the Malualkon Market. Everything in her modest teashop was lost--tables, chairs, cups, kettles and jerry cans.

"I needed 350 Sudanese Pounds ($138) to set up another shop," says Adut. "But I was never able to save any money from my first shop, as everything was spent on school fees, food, clothes and medicine. So there was nothing I could do."

For the next two years she just scraped by, selling whatever firewood, charcoal and bricks her husband could make. In a society where women are responsible for the bulk of a household’s work and chores, Adut considers herself lucky to have such a supportive husband.

"He’s a good man," she says, smiling shyly. "He really struggled to make life better for us. But it was never enough to buy what we needed for our children. Just to pay for school fees and uniforms costs us 100 Sudanese Pounds a year, so there was not much left after that."

Her situation took a turn for the better when a village leader put her in touch with Action Against Hunger. ACF provided Adut with an initial $60 grant to set up a new teashop, and two months later she received another $75 to help her business grow.

"With the first money I bought the basics I needed to restart the shop – starting with just one pack of tea. After two months when I had proved to ACF that I was committed and was doing things the right way, I received the second installment," Adut says proudly.

Adut’s day starts at 7 a.m. when she arrives at the shop to prepare for her first customers who begin coming around 8 a.m.

"I get water from a nearby borehole, start the fire and arrange everything and then I have customers up until early afternoon. On a normal day we have around 25 customers, but on market days it can be up to a hundred, so I employ one lady to help me. I like my teashop very much. I couldn’t have done this without ACF."

Charging 50 piaster (about 20 cents) per cup of tea, Adut makes almost $4 in profit per day. Combined with her husband’s earnings, this is enough to provide for the family of six.

"I no longer need any support from ACF because my earnings are now enough. I can even save a small amount of money. I want to thank ACF for helping me. They changed my life when it was the most difficult. Now I am independent and very, very happy!"