I am Ismail Mohamed Abdi. I am living in Hargeisa, Somliland. I have been working for Save the Children International in Somali-land as a child protection coordinator. I am extremely happy working for Save the Children International for protecting children from all forms of violations and abuses. Before I joined to Save the Children in November 23, 2002, used to work Hargeisa Orphanage Center.
A shocking story about my Mother’s Death
My mother died at my age of 5 years old. The day that my mother died was a very sad moment. My mother became sick after she gave birth to my third sister. At that time I used to keep lambs near home and I used to come back home every afternoon for food/milk. When I came in the house I used to say to my mother how you are mama. A one day in the afternoon I returned to Home. When I entered into the house (Aqal Somali) my mother was lying where I left her in the morning and she was looking like smiling as her mouth was open. I felt so happy because I thought she has recovered well. With happiness I said mama give me food. Unfortunately, she did not reply. I touched her but she did not move her body. I amazed what happened with my loved mother. After a moment, I heard my aunt (sister) of my mother was screaming /mourning outside. Then I realized that my mother died. I never saw a dead person before sad moment.
A Few days after the death of my mother I faced a very harsh life in various problems and violations including separation from my family (father, sisters and brother), lack of food, lack of care, fears and insecurities, loneliness, discrimination and prejudice. In the first year, I stayed my camel herd cousins in the jungle to get enough milk as my father had not an alternative way to get enough food/milk otherwise in Somali life style its very rare that parents send their young children (boys) with camel herds during camel herds. Because camel herd life is very difficult situations where a young child can’t survive for various reasons including existence of different forms of abuses and violations against children including corporal punishment, hard work fear, lack of food except camel milk, water for draining and washing, separation of family and ongoing fudging over camel looting among camel herds in groups based on clans.
A few years after being a camel boy, my step uncle (brother of my foster mother) took me to help him for keeping his sheep. I have been sheep herds for a few years which was really much worse than during my time in camel herds. After years, I escaped and managed myself and came in Hargeisa to my uncle who was a police officer. My uncle took me to Children’s Home for vulnerable children where I lived until I completed my secondary education in 1985. Living in institutional care is another challenge which affects children in many ways either physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Many violations against children happen in institutional care center. Either child abuse each other or staff abuse children or there are no adequate basic needs in the institutions.
I am happy now to work with save the children as child protection coordinator to promote protection rights of vulnerable children. I found Save the Children very important organizations to work with to save and protect children from violations and abuses which experienced through my childhood. Save the Children makes a significant change in the lives of vulnerable children across the world.