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Mending livelihoods and catching hope in southern Iraq

Iraq, August 18, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Adnan Ali/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Hassan Sabri and another local fisherman in southern Iraq bring in their catch with nets donated by Mercy Corps, which enabled them to restart their business — and their livelihoods. Photo: Adnan Ali/Mercy Corps

Hassan Sabri is a 33-year-old fisherman, and one of the beneficiaries of a recently-completed Mercy Corps Iraq livelihoods project. Our team provided nets to poverty-stricken fishermen in Al Bihar sub-district, which is located 90 kilometers away from the southern city of Basra.

In the last year, Hassan’s nets tore due to frequent use, and he lacked the income to replace them. Although he tried his best to continue fishing, he eventually gave up and began looking for another job. When he couldn't find any work, he fell sad and weak.

With the new nets that Mercy Corps supplied it to the poor fishermen, Hassan's eyes glowed with happiness. Hope began to shine again on his face and in his life. He was finally able to resume work and contribute to his family’s livelihood.

The very day after he received his new nets — they day I visited — Hassan rowed out onto the river in the very early hours of morning. He immediately threw his nets into river and patiently waited for the haul he'd missed for so long.

As he came back to his family with a large number of fish, he thanked our Community Action Program for their assistance to the residents of Bihar village, who rely heavily on fishing just like he does.