SOMALIA: Amina Alaman: "I want to go to school"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amina Alaman, a 10-year-old girl, was born in a camp for displaced people and has not known any other life. Her family first escaped their home region of Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia , in the early 1990s. They were on the move again when fighting in Mogadishu , the capital, displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

The family arrived in Galkayo, 700km north of Mogadishu , three months ago. Home for Amina, her seven siblings and their mother is an overcrowded camp known as Buulo Jawaan in the south of the town. Amina and her brothers and sisters do not go to school; instead they work to help the family.

"I sell water to the market porters. Every three glasses I get 500 shillings [about one US cent]. One of my brothers tries to shine shoes and others do whatever job they can find.

"We put the water in containers covered with sacks made of sisal to make the water cool. I leave early in the morning every day and I only come back for more water to sell until it is late in the afternoon.

"We eat once a day at night. Sometimes we may get enough money to have tea in the morning.

"My dream is to go school and become a school teacher. Teachers are important people and I want to be important - not like this all the time.

"I want to go to school because every morning I see children going to school. I want to be like them.

"I also want to help my mother and take care of her. She is too tired taking care of us.

"Life in the camp is hard and I wish I could go back home. My mother told we had a good farm and some animals before. I don’t want to be a refugee all the time."

Source: IRIN