Feysal Abshir, 25, a former camel keeper, has been earning his living as an electrician for the last few months after his family lost all their livestock in the prolonged drought.
Working in Lasanod, Sool region, Feysal is able to earn around $15 a day doing electrical repairs and wiring jobs. He takes calls from customers in Lasanod, and places like Tukaraq, Yagori, and Hudun, between 50 and 100 km away. He is also on call for work from two local electrical companies.
Feysal, the eldest son, sends a portion of his earnings to his family living in IDP camps in Awrbogeys, 160 km away. His family lost 180 goats and 15 camels in the drought.
He told Radio Ergo his new skill had created fresh hope for his family, who were fed up relying on aid handouts.
“I send them a decent amount to cover food, clothing and health needs for the family. I am also trying to save money to buy new livestock so the family can reclaim our proud heritage of pastoralism in the rural area,” Feysal told Radio Ergo.
As the prolonged drought has hit pastoralist families so hard, finding alternative livelihoods and learning new skills has become an increasing priority.
Feysal learnt his skill at the school run by a distant relative, Ali Hersi Jama, who offers vocational training courses in Lasanod. The school charges $25 to students but does not charge drought-hit pastoralists who lost their livestock. Courses include electronics, construction and house painting.
Ali Hersi, an electrical engineer, told Radio Ergo 90 drought-hit students have benefited from the school that he opened a year ago. Sixty are working in electronics and construction jobs in the city. He currently has 400 students enrolled and more arrive every day. This month the school took 23 more students and had to turn others away until it can add more capacity.
Numerous other drought-affected people, men and women, have turned to work in hotels and restaurants in Lasanod as waiters and cleaners. Some attend part-time classes at night to improve their skills, in the hope of finding new livelihoods.