“Hagadera is my home now”

Khadija in her home. Photo: LWF Kenya-Djibouti

Interview with a refugee in Dadaab

(LWI) - Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya is one of the largest and oldest refugee camps in the world. It is inhabited mostly by refugees from Somalia who started fleeing the civil war and following unrests since 1992, and have not been able to return since. Khadija Abdullah Mohamed arrived in Dadaab in 1992. At the age of 76, she still worries about providing for her family.

Tell us, why did you leave Somalia?

I left in 1992 because of the war in Somalia, for the safety of my family. We were pastoralists, we had many animals and would move from one place to another in search of pasture for our animals. Our life was normal, like that of any other family.

How did you come to Dadaab?

We trekked on foot. As we always moved with our animals, we didn’t have many things. We just brought a few cooking utensils with us, which we used to prepare meals along the way.

How is life in Dadaab?

My husband died six months after arriving here and three of my children died from cholera a few years later. My remaining four children are all in school. Now I buy milk from herders and sell it in the camp to support my other children.

Where do you go to meet other people, to socialize?

I meet my friends and customers at the market in Hagadera camp, where I sell the milk.

How is life in Dadaab for you?

Hagadera Refugee Camp is my home now. I have lived here for long and I am comfortable here. Five years from now I hope to have a big house, here in Hagadera.

What do you like to do?

I want to grow my milk business and start a big shop in Hagadera Market. I want to ensure I provide for my family so that they don’t lack food.

LWF provides support for people with special needs, among them the elderly population in Dadaab.