Sudan: Fatima Abdelrahim Osman

My goal is to enhance the living conditions of all unfortunate people, especially women, in the Sudan.

— Fatima Abdelrahim Osman

Fatima Abdel Rahim (69) did not receive a formal education. In 1960 she started a farming business in the private sector in the village El Gadar, Northern Sudan. Her farms annually yield heavy crops of dates, groundnuts and sorghum. She recruits a large number of laborers in her business and has a pragmatic approach to social development. The main issues she focuses on, according to her social reform views, are poverty reduction and an improvement of the living conditions of the unfortunate people in Sudan. Fatima is a member of the Sudanese Women General Union (SWGU).

Fatima did not receive a formal education, as she lived in a small tribal village in the far North of Sudan. When her husband died and left her a heavy burden of five children to raise, she was forced to work and subsist her kids. At the same time she has been inspired to create an idea about how to improve the economical conditions of her village. When she began working in 1960, Fatima had no financial resources. But due to the trust that local people have put in her, she managed to borrow some money and run a small business with it. Her business grew progressively till she could buy a five-acre farm with palm trees. At the beginning she depended on traditional manual farming methods. Then, when her income improved she bought some machinery, such as tractors, to help her cultivate the land. In addition to dates, she began to grow pasture for animal fodder, some of which she sells, the rest she keeps for the goats and sheep she raises. The high productivity of her land has won Fatima a reputation as a farmer. She not only produces a heavy crop of dates, groundnuts and sorghum annually, but has also provided job opportunities for a lot of women and men in the village. Through creating a large number of jobs, she believes that she has taken some steps forward towards improving the living conditions of the people in her village. Fatima is therefore applauded as a successful model for women, as a breadwinner in a society that is still male dominated and despises women's role in becoming financially self-dependent. She has set an exemplum to other women, which inspires them to have confidence in their capacities and has proved that deprivation from formal education should not prevent people from taking up their chances in life and from participating in the improvement and welfare of society.

Sudanese Women General Union (SWGU)