Nestled in a small cove along the west coast of Aceh Province, Lhok Sedu was a bustling port before a 15-meter wave wiped it out. Fortunately all of the villagers were able to escape to the hills as the massive wall of water broke through a small range of hills and pounded the shore. Zuhra was one of the many survivors who lost everything in the tsunami. Now dressed in a beautifully embroidered, turqoise blouse, Zuhra displays all of the characteristics of a seasoned businesswoman.
Haleema Ahmad Al-Shawabkeh, a seamstress from Jordan, had always dreamed of running her own clothing shop. With the support of her husband and some existing savings, she opened the Al-Amal Clothes Shop in her hometown of Madaba and quickly saw her business flourish. While she was excited about this growth, she was disappointed that she could not meet the amount of demand that existed for her services.
Ernestina Ameyaw is a 30-year-old sales representative with Tanbet Company at Kokomlemle in Accra. Eight years ago, she bought a plot of land at ¢18,000,000 (US$2,000), and worked to accumulate savings for three years before beginning construction on her new land. Along the way, however, her building project stalled, because she could not take out a loan to finish her building project. After efforts to obtain a loan from a financial institution proved futile, Ernestina abandoned her project.
Selinita Cabrera, 42-years-old, lives in the neighborhood of Arenales in Ica, Peru. It was here that she had saved enough money to build a small adobe home for herself, her husband, her teenage son, and her mother. Selinita earns her living selling flowers at a nearby cemetery where she owns a flower stand. Shortly after the massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake in August 2007, CHF's emergency response team met with Selinita at her flower stand.
For 58-year-old Anush Margaryan, and many Armenians like her, the country’s dearth of employment opportunities has made it nearly impossible for her to make ends meet and care for all those who depend on her for support. A pensioner who lives in a one-room apartment with her 34-year-old daughter and 12-year-old granddaughter, Anush says that they have barely scraped by. “During the last 5 months we were almost starving. We had no income aside from my monthly pension and poverty family benefits, which hardly cover our daily needs.”