August 07, 2017

"Education is the only skill that I can use to safeguard my future"

Abdi Asis Abdi Kadhir

15-year-old from Somalia who lives in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya

As part of a series about life inside Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, we talk to a 15-year-old Somalian about his education and hopes for the future.

Dadaab is a complex of refugee camps in eastern Kenya which hosts almost 250,000 people. Like any city, it has schools, hospitals and transport systems. Most of the refugees living there are from nearby Somalia - but there are also people from other countries including Ethiopia, South Sudan and Rwanda.

In a special series of reports from Dadaab this week, we look at life for children living in the camp - which is run by the United Nations refugees agency UNHCR - and talk to a head teacher and young people aged from seven to 16.

My name is Abdi Asis Abdi Kadhir. I am 15 years old and in class eight. I am a Somali.

I came to Kenya in 2007 because of the civil war in Somalia. It affected the education system in my country. Also there was no food and the employed people lost their jobs. 

People could not access the market places because there were people there with big guns - it was so bad.

Life in Kenya is not 100% but it is OK compared to Somalia. Being a candidate sitting for my national examination this year I feel prepared more than ever. 

Kenya is a good country in terms of resources which I could not access in my country, like education, and I feel lucky. Education is the only skill that I can use to safeguard my future and I am working so hard to make myself a better future.

I like my life here in the camp because I have learned how to interact with many communities and to live like family.

That is important. If back at home our citizens could have learned to love one another Somalia could be a peaceful country. But because of lack of democracy many people perished and some like my family ran to neighbouring countries.

The Kenyan government expressed interest in closing the camp. This was a huge blow on my side because in Somalia there is still war going on there and I have been living here in peace for the last seven years. 

I felt so bad because I know there is nothing back at home and life there will not be the same.

My education here in Kenya is good and it took time transitioning from the Somali system to the Kenyan system, which I have come to love.

I want to pass my national examination here in Kenya and proceed to secondary here. Going back will only affect my education life and my way of livelihood and I treasure the peace here.

I would like to tell the Somali government to take education seriously. In the east African region one of the most uneducated communities is the Somali.

The current government also should engage peace talks so that peace can prevail in my country. Because the economy is very bad, many people do not have jobs and there is insecurity which can be stopped only if leaders accept their mistakes and look for solutions and solve them.

My parting shot to the Kenyan government is that they should allow us to live in Kenya because it’s our only home and hope for a brighter future ahead of us. 

Let’s preach peace and be part and parcel of change to these conflict countries.

Read other Voices articles by Dadaab refugees

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