Stitching his way to survival, bits by bits

ABU DHABI — Azad Khan, a cobbler complains of shrinking savings day by day due to the skyrocketing cost of living here.

By Anwar Ahmad (A Day in the life of...)

Published: Sat 22 Mar 2008, 8:52 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:47 PM

coBeing a cobbler, 25-year-old Khan is happy with his profession and says, "I was destined for it as it has become the only source of bread earning for my family."

Khan, who hails from Zhob, a district in Pakistan, around 1,000km from Quetta, is in this profession for the past three years in Abu Dhabi's Electra Street, where he has a small shop, 'Azad Shoes Repair Shop'.

"For a small shop for mending old shoes and polishing them, I am paying an annual rent of Dh25,000," Khan said, who lives with 27 people in a hall "to save some money for his children." Khan has three sons and three daughters.

Everyday, around 25 customers visit his shop to get their shoes repaired. He finds the business good but regrets saving only a little amount of money. He earns Dh200 a day. "I am happy with my job but I feel troubled with the rising prices of edibles and spiralling rents," said Khan.

Khan does everything from stitching, repairing, polishing and selling readymade shoes and sandals which he brings from Dubai.

"Whatever I save is from this little shoe mending handiworks as I earn Dh5-Dh10 on selling one shoe or sandal but its sale is very less," said Khan.

In case of piling of works for shoe repair, he seeks help from his nephew, Nematullah.

He opens his shop at 8am and closes in the evening at around 10pm. He only takes rest for few hours in the afternoon.

Khan regrets that all his earnings are being spent out here.

In this modern and hi-tech phase where a mobile phone is supposed to be a part of life, Khan does not own one.

"When I have to speak to my family in Pakistan I borrow my friends' mobile using my credits. Having a mobile is another extra expenditure," Khan said.

"I did not know this work until I came here three years ago. But there was no other work for me to do, so I learnt it and started on a small scale. At home I was into farming," Khan said. "But as of now, I am happy with whatever I am destined for," he concluded.

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