One of the many ways that you’re helping make hope last in the Middle East is through livelihood support. This includes Sermad from Iraq, whose thriving upholstery business is providing comfy sofas for people across the Nineveh Plains…
Sermad is filled with gratitude for the role you've played in his thriving upholstery business
At two storeys high with a flat roof, the building from outside looks like a typical Iraqi house. But when Sermad opens the door, a different story emerges.
Throughout the house are sofas at different stages of production, from wooden frames to finished products ready for delivery. This is Sermad’s upholstery business, a fledgling enterprise that you’ve made a significant contribution towards.
Sermad, aged 34, is from the Nineveh Plains and part of the throng of Christians cruelly displaced by the onslaught of so-called Islamic State (IS). The region was seized for more than two years until, in 2017, people began to come home. But it was a bittersweet moment, with the joy of returning tempered with the realisation of what was lost – and what was needed to restore it.
It’s here your generosity is helping believers – including Sermad, his wife and two-year-old child – settle back home, with livelihood support among the many different ways you’re helping our Iraqi brothers and sisters.
“I've had this place since April 2018,” says Sermad. “I got a loan from your organisation and that was of great benefit for me. After I received the money, I was able to develop the process of purchasing those raw materials in a bigger quantity.” He’s also been able to upgrade his tools, including a new sewing machine and bigger scissors.
Sermod goes onto explain how he works. “I start visiting my clients at home,” he says. “There I listen to what they want and I take the measures in the room where the sofa will be placed. After that, I connect with the carpenter who makes the frame.” When the carpenter is finished and the frame arrives in his workshop, Sermad takes over, putting in the foam and adding the fabric in the colour and design requested by the customer.
“Thanks be to God, let me say, the work is not bad,” says Sermad. “The peak season is always the end of the year, before Christmas.” That’s when many redecorate their houses and need their sofas to be replaced. “Thank God, the work is going well, the income from my work is good.”
"Saying ‘thank you’ won’t suffice" Sermad
He has clients all over the Nineveh Plains, and business is going so well that he’s hired someone to join him! “I used to work alone, but now my friend works with me. We agreed on working together. The workshop is the source of income for me and him. The work that we do sustains both of us.”
“In truth, saying ‘thank you’ won’t suffice,” adds Sermad. “My thanks come from the bottom of my heart. You as a supporter helped this work to evolve.”
That impact of your support is such that Sermad is dreaming of yet more expansion. “Every time I see new furniture and new models and designs, I’m encouraged to move forward with my work. That is my target, to see improvement and more diversity in the designs. The world changes and new models emerge, so we should grab them and develop them.”
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.