Looking back in 2012, I can still remember the feelings of excitement as Fadumo Bihi and Nimco were graduated Alpha University College. Fadumo Bihi is a double amputee, mother and student who dedicated her life to other young pupils who need education. She is one of the most famous women who has ever mentioned to an intermediate school in Somaliland.
Nimco was an 18 year old orphan girl born into a poor family, she was completed 26 June Secondary school in 2009 and according to her examination results, she became first female student with the highest score in Somaliland’s whole Secondary Schools. She is also a brilliant student who accomplished her four-year secondary school education after walking 7-kilometers walk from her home to the school each day.
Both of them are a story’s of change today through the life of my pen. The spirit of volunteerism movement was indeed remarkable and a merit of admiration. Dear my pen, the torch of hope you lit glows brightness, vastness and intensity. Fadumo & Nimco will have a big reason to smile. They will certainly have a reason to celebrate in global youth service day, because In spite of the challenges of having physical disability & poor, they managed to live a normal life, and continue to be productive and contribute to their societies.
Nimco works as a school teacher at one of the private primary and intermediate schools in Hargeisa, and her main concern is making a decent living and pursuing her studies to live full of hope and happiness. She is now a breadwinner of her family and supports the education of her brothers and sisters.
Fadumo Bihi finished her first degree of ICT at the University and works with Somaliland National Disability Forum to support people with disabilities. Fadumo Bihi is an amazingly optimistic individual, who had shinned in many aspects of her life despite her physical limitations. She is role model to ordinary people like us, proving that disability is not inability.
Youth have unique potential assets to make their country into productive one and overcome his challenges. Youth in Somaliland organize themselves by established Youth forums, Youth organizations, Youth councils, Youth clubs and Youth alliances that are promoting youth rights, youth opinions and youth networks among different regions in Somaliland. The matters they deal with are as varied as the forms they take. Young people who join youth organizations have gain power and visibility through their involvement and want to bring about change. Thus, the role of youth can be described as harmonizing and essential to Somaliland’s development.
The participation of young people in youth organizations provides an important front for young people’s involvement in social, economic and political spheres. Youth led organizations work for the benefit of the youth. They provide services for youth, such as job preparation, advocacy, counseling for youth not to migrate, recreation services, Informal education and health. Apart from their youth services some youth organizations initiated information campaigns about irregular migration (Tahriib) which is one of the problems faced in our society.
You can see the corner of the roads in Hargeisa a large bill boards transmitting a message that is indicating the consequences and risks of Tahriib. While migration to Europe is an obstinate act for young Somali Landers in search of job opportunity and better life, at the other side recent days some parents’ consent to their children to encourage them to involve an irregular migration by supporting financial wise. This shows how the disease (Tahriib) affected even the Somaliland parents.
Despite these contributions, the lives of young people in Somaliland are subject to number of contradictions. Young people in Somaliland suffer from unemployment, Migration, growing consumption of Kat and tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Young people qualifying the institutions of learning are roaming the streets of Hargeisa with nothing to do, observing the country and waiting a chance of employment.
The issue of youth participation at the Local Council Elections was a key area of concern, particularly in view of reduced age of youth participation in local council elections. The amendment of Art.33.4 (Law No. 20) permitted hundreds of young people to participate the past Local Council Elections and became mayors at some regions in Somaliland.
In spite of these positive trends, young people still face many challenges and problems which prevent them from displaying their full potential. While the Somaliland government is increasingly putting youth concerns at the heart of their political agenda, a lot more remains to be done. Government should commit to fully engage young people in all aspects of their programs and initiates that target youth and political development.
It is, therefore crucial that youth receive the guidance and support they need in this challenging phase of life and sustaining them successful transition from youth to adult hood.
By: Farhan Abdi Suleiman (Oday)