In part three of our series on life in Somalia’s IDP camps, Radio Ergo meets a displaced woman whose daughter and grandson were born in the same camp in Galkayo. The internal displacement crisis has endured across three generations in this family and many other families, who have little opportunity of escape to a better life.
When Shadiyo Ahmed Awale arrived in Kulmiye camp in Galkayo fleeing clan conflict near Mogadishu – pregnant with her second child – she never imagined she would be raising her grandchildren here almost 20 years later.
Shadiyo remembers being hugely stressed by a confluence of traumatic events in her life at that time, yet managing to deliver her new baby girl safely thanks to the help of the camp’s only traditional midwife.
“My husband divorced me just months after I conceived my second child and at the same time clashes broke out in where we were in Lafole,” Shadiyo told Radio Ergo.
“That was in 2000. I travelled all the way to this camp and life for a mother like me was miserable.”
With no husband to support her, Shadiya had to take on casual labour jobs to feed and care for her two children, including baby girl Astur Mohamud.
“I managed to cover our needs. I set off on the journey to bring up my children because the handouts we received were not enough to feed us,” she said proudly.
Last year, Shadiya’s daughter Astur started her own family with the birth of a baby boy – the second generation from this family to be born in the camp.
What is more, the same midwife who had helped Shadiyo through childbirth was on hand to assist Astur with her labour.
Sharifo Sheikh Omar has been the only midwife helping mothers in the camp for the last two decades.
“I helped her mother and then I got the opportunity to help the daughter. I can remember the day she was born just like the day the daughter was delivering,” Sharifo recalled.
Life in the camp is grueling, however, with a ceaseless struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis.
Astur has barely any education, having been enrolled in a free community primary school near the camp when she was 13, but forced to drop out because her mother could not afford the school uniform.
“My mother had consistent challenges including financial problems,” Astur said. She took domestic work in town to help her mother before meeting her future husband, 20-year-old Abdirisack Mudey Hussein, who was also born in the camp.
“He is a committed and hard working person,” Astur said. They were married in the camp, in a wedding organised by the families and other residents.
Abdirisack’s family came to Galkayo after fleeing conflict in Afgoye. He supports his family as well as his young wife and son by working on a construction site.
“I struggle to feed both families. There are times when I earn nothing, but we survive – on good days, I get 20,000 shillings ($8),” he noted.
Kulmiye camp was set up in 1998 and currently hosts 281 families from different parts of the country.