Omar Ibrahim is an Ethiopian refugee who’s set up a tailor shop in Um Raquba camp in Sudan. Using a foot-powered sewing machine Ibrahim rents from a villager. He helps fellow refugees by making new clothes and mending worn out ones. Now, in Um Raquba, Ibrahim worries for his elderly parents who decided to stay behind in Humera.
“Even though I’m not fully satisfied, it’s enough to sustain my life, my belly. I left everything I had behind because I was forced to and I started this job out of necessity and it’s currently sustaining my life. I eat and drink daily thanks to my profession. If I didn’t have this job what would have happened to me? This machine is not mine. I got it from Um Raqouba. I keep half the profits and give the other half to the owner of the machine. And now I am better”, Ibrahim said.
His work as a tailor helps him both to earn a living and to fight his sadness. Despite the pain and loss he has suffered, Ibrahim is driven by a belief in self-reliance and the essence of serving his community.
Some 49,000 Ethiopians have fled into Sudan since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government launched a deadly offensive against the northern region of Tigray’s ruling party on November 4.
Living in a string of camps dotted along Sudan’s border with Ethiopia, most of the refugees must rely on aid to survive.
Many simply do not have the means to pay Ibrahim for his services, so he charges according to their means.
The Ethiopian federal government has claimed control of Tigray’s capital, Mekele. But the United Nations, which recently signed an agreement for ‘’unrestricted’’ access to the region reports of ongoing fighting.