(ERGO) – Women living in displacement camps in Mogadishu’ Deynile district have been turning to a local women’s organisation for help in recovering their lives and accessing justice for various violations and abuses they have suffered.
Kiin Ahmed (real name concealed) is a victim of rape. She told Radio Ergo that local organisation, HINNA, helped her recover from her ordeal and trained her in tailoring in order to establish an independent source of income.
“They gave me a sewing machine to earn a living. Before I used to wash clothes and collect firewood to sell, which was a hard way to earn a living. Now I’m blessed with this machine; I just put it outside my door and get clients, sometimes I make money, sometimes I don’t.”
On a good day, she makes upwards of $2.5, which she said is enough to support her family of five. That is more than she was earning before and the work is far less risky than collecting firewood in the bushes. She is still traumatised by her rape ordeal.
“I was collecting firewood as usual in the bush area past the hospital in Deynile, when three men forced themselves on me. It was one thing to be raped, but they also beat me senseless and knifed me several times, including the breast area and left shoulder,” she said.
Kiin received medical treatment at HINNA’s centre for about a month prior to starting a tailoring training course. She has been living in Bangala IDP camp in Deynile since being displaced earlier this year by floods in her village of Yaaqle in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region.
Asha Abdikarin, who runs HINNA’s medical services and prevention of gender-based violence unit, told Radio Ergo they had registered 63 cases of violence against women in the IDP camps between September and November this year.
The cases included rape, attempted rape, battery, forced marriage, denial of their inheritance or their salaries. The centre provides treatment and counselling, and support to pursue charges against the perpetrators.
Maano Idle Mursal, another IDP in the area, came to HINNA after being mistreated by an employer.
“After washing the clothes, I asked for my money. She (the employer) refused and ordered me to leave her house. She hit me and as I was escaping when my arm was slashed on the corrugated iron door. I wandered around bleeding asking people to help me,” Maano told Radio Ergo, explaining the scar on her left arm.
The tailoring training from HINNA has given Maano, a mother of four, a better income of up to $4 a day to support her four children. She no longer goes out looking for laundry jobs.
“There is a big difference, my life has indeed improved and I’m happy with what I have now,” Maano said.
Hamdi (real name concealed) came to HINNA after she could no longer handle the mounting pressures on her life. She and her family arrived in the IDP camps after being displaced from Korebe by floods. She found work as a maid outside the camp, but her husband became abusive and used to force her to give him her earnings for his personal use.
“My husband would demand the little money I had to raise my children. He’d say, I don’t care about the children; I need that money for khat… I complained to HINNA and they offered to train both of us in tailoring. We are now earning separate incomes as tailors and, thank God, our family situation is better now,” Hamdi said.
The centre has helped take three rape cases to court resulting in the perpetrators being sentenced. They are also involved in many other cases, where informal or out-of-court settlements have been reached. Some cases are held up in court.
“Sometimes relatives pressure the victim to drop the charges to protect their family name, opting instead to pay compensation for what happened. Sometimes, the court will take a case, but it drags on for a very long time,” said HINNA’s Asha Abdikarin. She added that the lack of laboratory testing capacity to prove rape complicates the prosecution of such cases in court.