< >

Kenya

Mohammed, 20

Somali refugee now living in Nairobi, Kenya.

I left Somalia because of the insecurity. The government had collapsed only to be replaced by clan-based violence (people killing each other because they were from the wrong clan). When there is no government, there is no law and order and no one standing up for people’s rights.

You don’t time have to plan your departure, you flee because you can’t fight. I was very young, only about 4 or 5 years old. I don’t remember much I just remember some older people carrying us because we couldn’t walk that far.

I grew up in Dadaab refugee camp. It wasn’t great but it was secure and I could play with other children. You don’t know much when you are young but as you grow up you begin to understand about being a refugee, the problems it brings with it and the restrictions.

We eventually left Dadaab because it was becoming unsafe. Many people would like to leave Dadaab but they don’t have anywhere to go, they would rather go somewhere they can work. Being in Dabaab is like being in jail, there are some refugees who have been there for 20 years.

Life in Nairobi isn’t bad but the cost of living is very high. A small house is 8 – 10,000ksh to rent but then it’s better then being in the camps. It is safer and the police tend to leave you alone.

My hope is that Somalia will be peaceful, that there won’t be Somali refugees anymore. Already some people are going back, not to fight but to invest. I won’t be going back until I am sure everything is OK. Then of course I will go back too.