Saturday, April 16, 2016

Somalia- Rehab center gives hope to street children in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of homeless street children who roamed the streets of Somali capital Mogadishu have a reason to smile thanks to the establishment of a rehabilitation center.

The center that has been operational since 2015 is a brainchild of the the Horn of African state's First Lady, Sahra Omar Hassan, and senior government officials concerned by the worsening plight of poor and neglected children.
Web image of Mogadishu street kids 

Mubarak Ibrahim, manager of the rehab center, told Xinhua in an interview this week that former street children have relished their new home that provides them with material and emotional support.

"We have 220 street children, and seven of them are girls here at moment. We started with 70 street children, but the number has increased gradually," Ibrahim said.

He revealed that the First Lady and senior officials from the Federal government have been contributing funds to help run the center.

"Even lawmakers make regular financial contribution to help run this facility that has provided a respite to homeless children," Ibrahim told Xinhua.

Dozens of former street children who spoke to Xinhua hailed the rehab center for providing them a home.

"I used to sniffle glue, smoke cigarette and other harmful substances and on many occasions, I was a victim of violent gangs that roamed the streets of Mogadishu at night. Life in the streets is a hell hole for both the young and old," Mohamed Mohamud Nor almost broke down as he narrated a life of chaos in the streets of Mogadishu.

He thanked the government for supporting the rehabilitation program for street children in Mogadishu, and vowed to support similar venture in future.

"At least I am now able to sleep in a secure environment and have no worries about what to eat or wear. I am currently pursuing formal education and hope to become a responsible member of the society," Dor said.

"I was pushed to the streets at a tender age due to family problems and on many occasions had a close shave with death after encountering criminals," said another former street child, Abdisalan Said Omar.

The 13-year-old said the center gave him a second chance in life.

"My life is now full of bliss thanks to the rehab center," Omar told Xinhua, adding that he intends to study hard and pursue higher education.

As for Deqo Abdisamad Farah, a 25-year-old former street child, the center is an oasis of hope amidst chaos and disillusionment that lurked everywhere in her former life.

The young woman told Xinhua she was addicted to drugs and was once a child bride until her relatives came to her rescue.

"I was brought to this rehab center by my uncle who was concerned about the painful experience I was going through as a young and twice divorced mother who was hooked to drugs," said Farah, adding that she would like to engage in productive activities like running a business in future.