This year like every other year, the world marks yet another UN World Refugee day and yet again we have an increase in statistics on the number of people who would have fled their home countries all around the world either as a result of war or natural disasters. According to the displacement data recently released by UNHCR, by the end of 2013 the total numbers of refugees had gone up by over a million from 15.4 million in 2012 to 16.7 million people worldwide, with Sub-Saharan Africa having about 2.9 million refugees. This increase has been contributed by the recent on-going conflicts the world has witnessed in Syria, with Central Africa Republic and South Sudan contributing to the majority of new displacements. While no one deserves to flee their homes unwillingly, what I have come to appreciate over the years of my interaction with people who have had to leave their homes notwithstanding the very difficult situations is that, they always strive to rise above their circumstances. Whereas they may be referred to as the stateless or refugees, forming statistics of those in need of aid and assistance, most of those whom I have encountered are resilient and refuse to let their circumstances define them.
As 32 countries compete for the World Cup title in Brazil, a different kind of tournament is taking place in northern Uganda. There, in the districts of Arua and Adjumani, young South Sudanese refugees have formed football teams to play for peace.
Fishing in Puntland
Puntland boasts an expansive 1,600 km coastline along the Indian Ocean. Its waters are home to some of the richest fishing grounds in Africa and present considerable potential for artisanal fisheries and coastal area development, where efficient fishing, fish marketing and processing remain critical to household livelihoods, creation of jobs and income generation for people. However, the sector remains undeveloped where its ministry lacks sufficient resources and budget to implement existing policies.
Fishing in Somaliland
Somaliland enjoys a vast coastline of 850 km long that borders the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Its waters are home to some of the richest fishing grounds in Africa and present considerable potential for artisanal fisheries and coastal area development, where efficient fishing, fish marketing and processing remain critical to household livelihoods, creation of jobs and income generation for people. However, the sector remains undeveloped where its ministry lacks sufficient resources and budget to implement existing policies.
Safia Abndi Nuur is a mother of eight children. She was born in Hargeisa and is one of four children. When she was young, some of her brothers and sisters were privileged to attend school, some even finishing their bachelor’s degree in university. Safia finished her formal education in secondary school, got married in 1998 and started her family. After a few years, her husband fell ill and had to receive multiple treatments in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Unfortunately he did not get better and died.
Last December, Nyakuoth Kuony was living happily in Unity, South Sudan, with her husband and five children. At 27 years-old, one of Nyakuoth’s wishes was to one day visit Uganda—little did she know she would soon end up there as a refugee.
2.9 million Somalis are in humanitarian need while the world looks the other way
Oxfam partner SONYO (Somaliland National Youth Organisation) has announced that their Executive Director, Saeed M. Ahmed, has recently met with US officials at the White House in Washington, DC. Saeed had been on a two week visit to the United States as a participant in the “International Visitor Leadership Program”.
As “World Water Day” is marked this month with events around the world, today millions of Somalis remain in danger by simply taking a drink of water. Contaminated water and a lack of sanitation are killers in this country, where waterborne diseases are a constant threat to health. Only 30% of Somalis have access to clean water, leaving the majority vulnerable to several life threatening diseases.
Ruben Ngong Guet has the same likes and dreams as many average teenagers. An 18 year old student, he wants to become a doctor someday. He enjoys computers. He enjoys football, and supports Chelsea. When he takes the field to play football, he’s a striker. “I like scoring goals,” Ruben says, “but there’s no ball here.”