Abdulrahman’s Story, Yemen

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I was born in 1968 in Hamar-weyne, an area in the capital of Somalia. My father belonged to Benadiritribe, a minority tribe in Somalia. My mother was born in the city of Afgoye, 30km south of Mogadishu. I have seven siblings – three boys and four girls. We came from a poor family and my father was unable to cover the necessary needs for our family, which made my mother practice simple business. My mother was not educated as it is the case with many Somali mothers, however, she believed in her children’s education and helped us access to primary and middle schools. I began my education in Somalia. I started my career as a teacher for Arabic language.

When the civil war broke out in Somalia my family could not survive because we belonged to a minority tribe, and especially because for a certain period I worked as a journalist with the government. At that time I lived near the residence of a big southern tribe, who kept harassing me. I received several threats from them and my movements were entirely limited.

Finally, in December 1991, I fled Mogadishu with many families to Bossaso, and stayed there for 13 days waiting for a boat to take me to Yemen. In Yemen I lived in the refugee camps till 1999, when I moved to live in the urban area of Aden.

I started a new life here. It was the first time I left Somalia. At the beginning I worked as a teacher in Sana’a and later I was one of the first teachers in the primary school for Somali refugee children in Aden. I worked until 1999 in 4 refugee camps. During this work I attended workshops and trainings in several topics as school medical promoter, boy scout, child to child program, mine awareness, helping children living in difficult circumstances, etc. I received certificates for all of these courses.

In 1999 I was extremely fortunate and received an academic scholarship under the “DAFI PROGAM” through which I earned a Bachelor’s degree in law. From July 2003 until December 2005 I worked at UNHCR Aden office as legal counselor and was able to provide legal aid and assistance to other refugees that continued to arrive in Yemen. I also worked as an interpreter for Somali refugees during 2006 registration and as an interpreter in the attorney and courts.

I am extremely thankful to have received appreciation and recognition from the authorities of Yemen whom I was dealing with and the office of UNHCR Aden, Save the Children, MSF, Ministry of Education Directorate of the district local counsel, Somali consulate, Somali communities in Aden and refugee camps, among other NGOs. Such appreciation has helped me integrate and restart my life in safety and respect in Yemen.


1 family torn apart by war is too many

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