Ethiopia – Five-day walk from Somalia to Ethiopian camp gives mother hope

by Essay Worabo, LWF Ethiopia

Habiba Ali Isa, aged 37, a single mother of six children arrived at Hilaweyn camp, Dollo Ado after a five-day trek from village across the border in Somalia.

She walked to Ethiopia carrying two of her children, one in front and the other on her back, arriving on 5 August 2011.

Luckily her family ran into no harm, unlike other female-headed families on the same road.

Drought triggered her exodus from the Biadawa zone, at Yukurt in Somalia.

There was no rain for four years.

Women like Habiba make their livelihoods in agriculture and as pastoralists, so it had been difficult to survive under the harsh weather conditions.

She had a total of 12 livestock – six cows and six goats. All of them died except for one animal. Habiba had to sell that one before she fled from her village.

Even after coming to Hilaweyn, camp, Habiba was in a state of fear for the safety of her children. They are used to living in the bush rather than in an open and crowded camp.

Her fear was compounded when she heard of a measles epidemic. Measles hit the camp badly, although the worst is now pas. Hadiba’s 13-year-old girl was in serious condition despite treatment provided in the near-by clinic.

Yet despite the problems she faces, she has a high hopes that her children will get an education and she will find a job.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) provides skills training programs at Hilaweyn camp.

It has selected 120 potential refugees for courses in brick making, tailoring and handicraft making. Even though Habiba is a fulltime caregiver for her children, she told the LWF she wants develop her own career in the future. She would like to get the skills training she always wanted, and get a job.

It has been a long road for Habiba. She said she does not want to go back to her country and is determined to change her future for the better.

LWF-Ethiopia is there to help people like Habiba, whose dreams of helping boys and girls, men and women who want to forget where they have come from, but also helping them to see the path ahead.

During this reporting period, although the daily arrival rate at the camp has decreased, the number of refugees has increased to more than 125,000.

Education is a concern as most of the refugees have never been to school.

This is a major concern, LWF-Ethiopia is working with ARRA and UNHCR, building three primary schools for the camps. Training centers are under construction and close to completion.

Issued by the Ethiopia program of the Lutheran World Federation, Department for World Service.  Editor: Essay Worabo,

This entry was posted in Emergencies, Somali Refugee Crisis 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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