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A haven for hope for youth in Mogadishu

Anab Abdulkadir Mohamud, 18, from Abdiaziz District in Mogadishu, is the firstborn in a family of six; one boy and five girls. Anab’s father disappeared from home three years ago. He was later reported to have died at sea with some friends as they attempted to migrate, searching for greener pastures.

Abdiaziz District has been heavily affected by conflict subjecting many people to suffering and loss of property. The district has a high poverty rate; a majority of the population relies on the private sector and humanitarian agencies to provide for their basic needs.

The area is dominated by extremely vulnerable groups, including female-headed households and child labourers. The women and young people in the area have a low status in society, allowing for many of them to be exploited through harmful labour and human trafficking. For instance, a mother who sustained severe injuries during the conflict in 2009 had to send her 13-year-old daughter to work for a neighbouring family and was only earning about US $20 per month.

The vulnerable groups also have very few livelihood opportunities and little access to essential services such as health and education. Many learning institutions in Abdiaziz have been destroyed and looted, while some have been turned into settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The right to education has been denied for many due to recurrent.

Like many other young girls in Abdiaziz, Anab never had the opportunity to go to school and attain a quality education. She spent most of her time looking after her siblings while her mother, who remains the family’s breadwinner, was away from home in search of food. Life has been so difficult for the family.

Now, there is a ray of hope for Anab and her family. She has ventured into tailoring and has established a kiosk within her household where she is operating from. “I am now making money and supplementing to the income of the household. Thanks to UNFPA,” says Anab.

In 2019, UNFPA Somalia, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, established the Abdiaziz Youth Friendly Center in Anab’s neighbourhood. The centre provides young people with skills training. The centre is managed by Y-PEER Somalia, a youth-led organization based in Mogadishu to provide free services to the youth.

In September 2020, the centre enrolled 40 young people to study vocational skills on running a beauty salon, tailoring and fashion. Anab was one of the applicants that met the selection criteria, and she enrolled for classes to study tailoring and fashion.

“I attended classes consistently and performed very well in the final assessment,” Anab says proudly.

Upon completion of the vocational skills training, the project conducted standardized examinations to determine the progress made by the trainees. The ones who passed the evaluation were supported with startups kits to enable them to establish their own businesses. Interestingly all the students, including Anab, passed the evaluations exams and qualified to receive the kits.

“My business is making headway. I made a substantial amount of money during Eid celebrations. This is the time when the demand for new clothes is higher. This has helped to improve the economic status of my family. I thank each and everybody who contributed to my progress in one way or another,’’ says Anab.

The Abdiaziz Youth Friendly Center also offers friendly health services, including voluntary counselling and testing of sexually transmitted diseases and awareness on sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence. Trained peer educators and trainers facilitate the services. Simple counselling techniques are also delivered to young people who witnessed horrific incidents of conflict and displacement so that they can regain normalcy.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ---Abdihakim Ahmed Abdullahi