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Disabled youth overcomes the odds as a mechanic in Mogadishu

Tuesday May 2, 2023


(ERGO) – Mohamed Amin Hassan, a 27-year-old who lost both his legs as a baby in an explosion, is happy that he is able to support his four siblings and his elderly mother after getting a job as a mechanic.

His life and that of his family changed when he got a job at a garage in Mogadishu’s Warta Nabadda district in January.

Every morning he drives from home in Sona-kay neighborhood in Hodan district to his workplace three kilometres away in Labo-daghah neighborhood using the hand-pedalled tricycle wheelchair that he bought after receiving his first salary.

He earns between $5 and $15 a day that has given a new beginning to his destitute family, who were depending on handouts from relatives.

“The income varies, but I get something every day, you can’t tell exactly how much you will make in a month, because if you repair a car I get paid for my part,” he said.

Mohamed has rented a two-room house for his family at $100 a month and contributes $25 a month to keep his younger siblings in school.

“I was inspired to learn about small cars first because I was curious and can reach the engine of smaller vehicles to take them apart, but I can’t reach big cars. The second thing was that I wanted to make an income,” he said.

Mohamed’s father died before he was born and his single mother struggled to raise him after he lost both legs when he was nine months old after being hit by a mortar shell.

He took a two-year training workshop from 2020 and overcame many challenges due to his disability with solid support from his friends.

“I was faced with challenges, for instance, being told to open bolts and not being able to reach them because I couldn’t stand. I didn’t know much about the parts of a car then but now I do,” he said.

Mobility in the hectic streets of Mogadishu is challenging even with his tricycle.

“When I am crossing the road, the tuk tuk taxis don’t stop. Also, when I am moving through traffic it can be slow and I can spend an hour getting to work. When I get there late I might find there is no work as someone else fixed the cars,” he explained.

Mohamed is also in his final year of studies for a bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology at Jamhuriya University of Mogadishu.

Colleagues at work all respect him for his determination to overcome the challenges of his disability.

The instructor at the garage, Salad Mohamud Dini, said he was taken aback when he first met Mohamed and saw his passion.

“Mohamed Amin is a mechanic now, we taught him the skills he knows. He used to come in the morning and learn here, he didn’t know anything but he learned by doing. He is a man with a good mind and his understanding is good,” he said.

“He is very different from those people who don’t have disabilities. Now, as his teacher, I like to help him when he needs it even though we expect other students to be very independent, but for him I still get to help him.”

Mohamed is known for his good timekeeping and enthusiasm for work. In the future, however, he hopes that his university education will enable him to look for other opportunities and give him a break from the physically demanding job at the garage.


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