International Day of Persons with Disabilities

I always wanted to set up a business, and employ other blind persons so they can make a living too

Fifty-two-year-old Khabour Mohammed Ali runs a small home-based business in Dohuk selling knitted products. Khabour, who is visually impaired, has many talents- from teaching braille to making all types of handicrafts. Determined to expand her business, Khabour enrolled in ILO’s business and financial education programmes, and received a loan that will help her business grow

Article | Iraq | 02 December 2022
Khabour, a person with visual impairment is expanding her business with the ILO's support ©ILO

My siblings and I are visually impaired. My father wanted us to go to school, and get an education like other children.
We learnt braille and now I work at an institute teaching braille.

My hobby is to make handicrafts, such as knitting, which I have been doing since a very young age. My mother and my aunt used to do this work, so I learnt from them.

I started doing this work because I did not want to just sit at home and have negative thoughts. I also wanted to make a living out of this work. I make clothes and baskets and sell items based on requests I get from people.

The work is challenging sometimes. I wish I did not have to rely on others to help me select the colours that I need.

I took part in these trainings (ILO’s Start and Improve Your Business and Financial Education programmes) and I learnt things I did not know, such as how to set up my business and how to apply for a loan so I can open a small shop or buy material.

The trainings taught us how to deal with clients and how to divide our money. It was very beneficial.

I took a loan from Al-Thiqa so I can buy material which I can use for my products. This will help me improve my income.

I always wanted to set up a business, and employ other blind persons so they can make a living too.

In the future, I would like to set up a workshop for blind persons in making bamboo products, such as garden chairs, kitchen baskets and other household items.

This will give them an opportunity to rely on themselves instead of others.


Khabour, a host community member, was supported by the ILO in Iraq, under the PROSPECTS Partnership, spearheaded by the Government of the Netherlands. The ILO under PROSPECTS has been active in supporting entrepreneurial pathways for refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and host community members. It has partnered with Al-Thiqa micro-finance institution to provide financial services and loan disbursement for entrepreneurs, and trainings in ILO’s Financial Education programme and in Start and Improve Your Business training programme.