Muhammed’s Story, Somalia

I can’t compare Malaysia to home. There is a saying that is “There is no place like home”…

“I moved to Malaysia with my mom and grandma and relatives on my mother’s side in 2008 and now we live together as a family.

I can’t compare Malaysia to home. There is a saying that is “There is no place like home”, the things that I used to do, the language that I used to speak, the families, my neighbourhood, I can’t find them here. The friends I had in Somalia, I consider them my family, and I grew up with some of them. You can’t replace such things with another but you can get something else. I made new friends, I like to interact with people from different ethnic groups, nationalities.

When I came to Malaysia, I couldn’t even understand anything, I learnt how to speak English within my community. I try to read a lot and I have achieved this in the past year and I am very grateful for it. I speak four languages now and I can speak to many people. I feel like they are from my own country because I can speak their language.

With the circumstances here in Malaysia, it’s difficult to find education or work for someone like me but what I do is I try to make use the most of my time, something that is beneficial for me. Right now, I’m helping communities and teaching at different places. Not as a formal work, but as a volunteer. Because you have to contribute something to society. Even though you achieve things by your hard work, one way or another society helps you out so they deserve some kind of payback.

I have hopes and future plans, but then, you can’t achieve everything under these circumstances. But there are always ways, I’ve seen my friends who have registered with UNHCR that have been staying here for 5-6 years, didn’t do much, just waiting for themselves to be taken to another country. I feel like that’s wasting your time. There is always a way to make use of my time, to achieve my goals, one way or another.

I am really grateful for the opportunity that they have given me although no one comes to help you directly, they are helping me indirectly. So all my time I’ve been here, one way or another, I have been helped by Malaysians – my friend, institutes, the government. I’m really grateful for them and I wish everyone could feel the appreciation I feel.”

*name has been changed to protect the individual

1 family torn apart by war is too many

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