Displaced families among the shelters of Shareco camp, Ceelasha, Somalia.
1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, drought, flooding and record high food prices

Learning new skills in Somalia: Hassan's story

Oxfam has been providing assistance to over half a million vulnerable people in Somalia who have been severely affected by a combination of conflict, drought and record high food prices.  Nearly half of Somalia’s population is now in need of humanitarian assistance.    

In central Somalia, Oxfam has been working with two local partners assisting over 70,000 people to rebuild the livelihoods they have lost as a result of the crisis in their country.  The projects have been providing people with tools and seeds to support agricultural work, providing cash relief to the most vulnerable people including women and children and creating work for the local community to build toilets and a safe sanitation system. 

Hassan (not his real name), 55 years old living in the Middle Shabelle region, shares his story.

Hassan lived in Mogadishu with his wife and ran a small business.  When extreme violence broke out in the capital in late 2006, he escaped to the Middle Shabelle region with his children. Unfortunately, Hassan’s wife fell ill and passed away leaving him with their five children aged between three and twelve years old.  

Hassan now works as a carpenter – constructing Oxfam funded toilets in his town. 

Hassan says:

‘I became a father and a mother. I’ve been here for two years and I and my family live on the skills I learn and any food aid that reaches us here. We have poor shelter and have received little assistance. There are no toilets here and I don’t have any utensils to cook with.

‘However, I have now received a new job opportunity through Oxfam and its partners working here building latrines. I’m hopeful that mine and my family’s living conditions will improve as I’m now receiving cash to cover the daily needs of my family.

“In the future, I hope Mogadishu becomes settled and I get a good chance to educate my children."

February 2008

Read more: Holding onto hope in Somalia – Jamila's story.