(ERGO) – Mahado Adan Hassan, a single mother of 12, is finding it hard to buy food and water this month, as the closure of restaurants and parks during Ramadan has limited the family’s income.
She depends on cash earned by her two teenage sons working as shoe shiners in Guriel, in central Somalia’s Galgadud region, but there are few customers around at the moment.
The boys used to bring home up to eight dollars between them. But during the fasting period they have been lucky to earn even one dollar. She uses that money and any food given by her neighbours to cook one meal a day for her children.
“Some days the boys come back empty handed. On such days we sleep hungry. There are days when we don’t get any food to break our fast,” she said.
Mahado was supporting her family by doing laundry jobs until August 2020, when severe back pain forced her to stop. Her two oldest sons were forced to step in to earn some cash.
Her oldest son Abdiqani Hussein Jaylani, 15, told Radio Ergo that he and his younger brother were struggling to find work.
“I used to polish shoes in Bosnia, Tallalada and Qura’a public parks which have been closed down since the start of Ramadan,” he said. “This is a bad month for business. Last month was better.”
Abdiqani and two of his brothers attend Koranic classes in the afternoon after work and evening classes in mathematics, Somali and Arabic offered free of charge by a youth group.
Mahado is distressed that her children are having to go out to work and has promised they can stop once she recovers. However, she has not yet found the money to seek any medical treatment.
The family has been living in a two-roomed house in Guriel town rented at $25 a month for more than a year. Mahado worked hard to save the money to move out of Daryeel IDP camp, where they had lived since early 2016, after fleeing conflict in their home area of Galkayo.
Now, she is worried about finding the bare minimum to feed her family and may not afford this month’s rent. She fears having to return to the IDP camp. This is the toughest time she has experienced since arriving in Guriel.
“We are surviving on the little we receive from our neighbours. I don’t even have money to buy water,” she said.
Guriel community development association’s chairman, Shafi Sheikh Bashir, said 150 families, mostly IDPs, have been affected by the loss during Ramadan of daily earnings by their children doing odd jobs like shining shoes.
He said they were planning to provide food to break the fast for the destitute families who cannot afford to buy food.