• Abdelmonem ALJUHEYMI | Public Information Assistant
  • Moayad Zaghdani | Senior Public Information Assistant

In the heart of Sebha, Libya, Ghazala Muftah's journey as a seamstress began at a tender age, learning the art of sewing from her mother and other women in her community. Ghazala's skills blossomed when she seized the opportunity to participate in a local sewing training in 1995. This experience equipped her with the fundamentals of measuring, cutting, designing, and sewing techniques, igniting her passion for creating garments. 
It also ignited a spark within her to expand beyond the confines of her immediate community. Despite initially viewing sewing as a hobby rather than a means of livelihood, Ghazala's passion and talent soon outgrew the boundaries of her personal circle. 
Ghazala, a resilient mother of five, navigated through numerous challenges with unwavering support from her husband. However, in the late 1990s, economic turmoil struck their household when her husband lost his job, leaving Ghazala as the family's sole provider. Determined to weather the storm, she dedicated herself to full-time sewing, utilizing the vintage sewing machine passed down by her grandmother.

''We faced a tough time financially when my husband lost his job for four years," Ghazala recalls. "Libya was going through challenging circumstances. As a mother, providing for my children wasn't easy." She paused for a few seconds, reflecting on those days. "That time still touches me deeply. Still, I'm proud that I was able to help my family through it all."

Ghazala at her shop /Photo: Abdelmonem Aljuheymi

Undeterred by adversity, Ghazala honed her talents and enrolled in local community training courses focused on entrepreneurship. These initiatives not only enhanced her business acumen but also introduced her to e-marketing skills—a concept previously unfamiliar to her. Through the Noqosh Fezzan organization, Ghazala connected with the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Community Stabilization programme, marking a pivotal moment in her entrepreneurial journey. 

In January 2024, Ghazala participated in IOM's e-commerce training, a transformative experience that equipped her with the tools to leverage digital platforms for her business. With steadfast determination, she immersed herself in the curriculum, mastering the intricacies of online marketing and social media promotion.  

Through generous funds from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, IOM’s Community Stabilization programme distributed laptops to 30 participants of the e-commerce training. Ghazala utilizes her laptop to efficiently handle and market her business.

''I feel proud while wearing the clothes I make," says Ghazala with a smile. "At events, when people ask who made my outfit, I love telling them I did." She reflects on her growth. "The IOM's e-commerce training was a game-changer. Before, I relied on word-of-mouth for my business. Now, I have a Facebook page. I've learned to manage it effectively, to publish my work, and create ads. It's opened up a whole new world for reaching customers."

Ghazala talking to co-worker /Photo: Abdelmonem Aljuheymi

In the tapestry of Ghazala Muftah's life, each stitch represents a triumph over adversity, each seam a testament to the indomitable spirit of a woman who dared to dream against all odds. 

More than 8,000 people have benefited from livelihoods and social cohesion activities of IOM Libya’s Community Stabilization program in Sebha, with 4,092 women participating in soft skills training sessions.