Today – August 19th – is World Humanitarian Day. The United Nations designated it in memory of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003 in which 22 people died. It is now the one day of the year when we turn the spotlight on aid workers and celebrate their efforts to help others in the world’s most difficult and dangerous places.
“Having been traveling back home to Somalia since childhood, spending several months during my summer breaks, I never changed my taste for the Somali breakfast of fried liver and anjero (Somali pancakes) and perfectly cooled grapefruit juice.
There is no trip where I fail to rush to the downtown souk (market) where the alleys are filled with colorful market stalls, where women sit out in the streets with chests of jewellery and the moneychangers lounge on the side walk with massive piles of Somali shillings stacked in front of them. Not to mention the high end shops in the main cities of Mogadishu and Garowe where the silky Somali dirac dresses from Dubai and Tokyo are displayed.
As you walk, the number of young Somali girls going to school cannot be missed and many youth indulging with artwork and other pastimes. The glimpse of hope in the eyes of Somali youth is a reason for all of us to do our best to see a better Somalia. The vast majority of Somalis just want to see peace and their children to have a better future.
There is something admirable about the ingenuity of my people; we see a business opportunity in everything we do! There is a little Mogadishu in every part of the world where Somalis live, from Minnesota to London to Nairobi. And we have created a means of survival through the remittance system (or Hawalas as we call it in Somali), sending money from these Somali outposts to our loved ones back home. It’s a beautiful and genuine expression of solidarity, faith, patriotism and generosity that by far surpasses any aid that comes to Somalia. A perfect example of how Somalis can help one another with minimum or no external interference. I’m privileged to be part of the Oxfam campaign to save this Somali Lifeline http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-11-06-keeping-somalia-lifeline-open-progress.
Getting the chance to work for my country has made me realise even more the potential of Somalia as a hub for cultural exchange, trade, agriculture and industry. Through my work with Oxfam, I see the resilience and fortitude of my fellow Somalis. In the people we serve through our humanitarian and development work we see the hope of a better future for Somalia.
May peace and prosperity in abundance prevail in the land of Somalis.”
– Nimo Jirdeh, Policy and Advocacy Advisor, Somalia Program
See more of what is happening in Somalia