12/9/2021
Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
advertisements
Surviving gender-based violence in Somalia's displacement camps


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fatuma and baby Seynab. Originally from Mogadishu, Fatuma has been living as a displaced person for the past 10 years. At 25, she already been through the ordeal of a divorce, death of a husband and two children. She lost her job of disposing garbage recently when the business was taken over by a private company. (UNICEF Somalia/Sebastian Rich)
Fatuma and baby Seynab. Originally from Mogadishu, Fatuma has been living as a displaced person for the past 10 years. At 25, she already been through the ordeal of a divorce, death of a husband and two children. She lost her job of disposing garbage recently when the business was taken over by a private company. (UNICEF Somalia/Sebastian Rich)



MOGADISHU, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Photos provided by UNICEF Somalia offer a rare glimpse into the harsh conditions that women living in internally displaced camps in Somalia often face. These include the heavy burden of raising multiple kids, unstable income, and sometimes sexual violence. But despite all these hardships, they still hold optimism in the future.

The following is the story of Fatuma, a 25-year-old mother to five children living in an internally displaced camp in Somalia. The story is provided by UNICEF Somalia, and authorizedfor publication on Xinhua's website.

At 25, Fatuma Nur Artan is already a mother to five children. Four-month-old baby Seynab is the youngest, then Abdi, 2; Khadar, 5; Sahra, 7. The oldest is away at school. She was originally from Mogadishu, displaced because of the Al-Shabaab insurgence. For the past 10 years her home has been Bulamugis camp for the displaced persons in Bosaso, Puntland in Somalia.

advertisements
On the edge of the camp is their house, a single room made of metal sheets. Inside there is a worn-out mattress that takes up the most space, plus a few pots and pans, basins and cans, piles of fabrics - all scattered across the floor. The little courtyard outside is littered with waste.

As a single mother, Fatuma is the sole breadwinner of the family. She had been collecting and disposing garbage for a living, but lost the job when the business was taken over by a contractor. "I used to carry garbage bags, 20-50 kg each, and bring them outside the town. When I go out, the children are left alone, no one looks after them, they look after themselves," she says.

For each bag of garbage Fatuma disposes, she could make 1 U.S. dollar. "I normally took five bags a day."

Struggling to keep her children fed, Fatuma has to face yet another threat that is all too common for vulnerable women like her living in harsh conditions of Somalia's displacement camps.

"Men would come and knock on my door in the middle of the night," she says. Over the past months, she has been beaten three time and almost got raped by a group of men one evening. "I scream when men advance on me so that neighbors come," she says lightly. "After a while, you get used to it."

When Fatuma goes out to look for work, her seven-year-old daughter Sahra takes over the responsibility of looking after her younger siblings. "I wash dishes, clothes, clean my brothers and put them to sleep," says Sahra. "I don't play and have no friends."

There are no schools in the camp of nearly 900 households, so Sahra has never been to school. Like her mother, she doesn't complain, and doesn't seem to have any pessimism in her, no matter how hard and unfair life has been for her.

"I want to help my mother. I want a better life, a better house, for her and my brothers. I want to go to school. I want to become a teacher when I grow up."

As for Fatuma, she is equally optimistic. "One day, I would like to start a small business," she says. "I want a good life for me and my children."



 





Click here