Lagat and Wang Xiaopeng NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Habibu
Abdikadir Abdi has lived in Dadaab refugee camp in northern
Kenya with her husband and nine children since 2008 while dire
economic circumstances have forced her to undertake strenuous
jobs in order to put food on the table.
The 32-year-old Somali refugee found a
safe haven in the sprawling complex that once housed about
400,000 fellow country men and women who fled war and natural
calamities in the Horn of African State.
Habibu and her young offspring are
lucky to have escaped the devastations of civil strife that has
engulfed her native country for two and a half decades though
living in a foreign country without a formal job has been an
Speaking to Xinhua at Dadaab refugee
camp on Tuesday, Habib decried financial hardships endured by
her entire household in recent times thanks to declining support
from foreign benefactors.
Currently, Habib ekes out a living
from cleaning jobs that earns her 2 dollars a day while her
husband’s jobless status has made it a herculean task to feed
and educate the young children.
“The food and financial aid meant for
us has been declining,” said Habib, adding that female
refugees have borne the brunt of a cut back on humanitarian
Habibu retains an emotional attachment
to her homeland and in particular the capital city of Mogadishu
that she calls her hometown but the thought of going back there
disturbs her given the volatile security situation.
She is among a growing number of
Somalia refugees awaiting repatriation back home under a
tripartite agreement signed between the UN Refugee Agency, Kenya
and Somalia governments in November 2013.
Though Habibu loves her native
country, she is still pondering on whether it is prudent to
relocate due to the fragile security situation as well as
climatic vagaries like droughts that have had a devastating
impact on local communities.
Despite the fact that obtaining food
rations has been a nightmare in the refugee camp, she is yet to
make a decision on a permanent relocation to her hometown.
Habibu embodies the dilemma facing
Somalia refugees living in Kenya whose desire to relocate to
their mother land is constrained by the tragic reality of
encountering new forms of security threats, poverty and social
Faxti, an 18-year-old Somalia refugee
who settled at Dadaab camp in 2010 with her family members
looked forward to a safe return to her native country with a
mixture of nostalgia and anxiety.
The young woman who is a native of the
port city of Kismayo in south central Somalia defied self-doubt
and doomsayers to jump into a plane that ferried her and the
next of kin back to Somalia on Tuesday.
“I want to go back to Somalia, because
it is my home country,” Faxti told Xinhua on Tuesday before
she boarded a UN plane that ferried fellow refugees back
On Tuesday alone, 90 Somalia refugees
left Dadaab camp to Kismayo to start a new life after years of
sojourn in a foreign land.
The voluntary repatriation of Somalia
refugees that commenced in early 2014 has been going on smoothly
save for minor logistical hitches.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, revealed that about 75,000 Somalia
refugees have so far returned home while an additional 20,000 is
Speaking at a media briefing in
Nairobi on Wednesday, Grandi said the international community
will support voluntary repatriation of Somalia refugees to
enable them participate in their country’s reconstruction.
“Majority of Somalia refugees living
in Dadaab camp are willing to be repatriated back home on
condition they are guaranteed security and access to basic
services like education, housing and health,” said Grandi.
He had earlier visited Somalia,
Djibouti and Dadaab refugee camp to assess the living conditions
of people displaced by conflicts.
The UN refugee agency official urged
multilateral lenders and host countries to channel investments
to projects that can enhance resilience of displaced persons in
the face of poverty and limited opportunities in life.
According to the UN Refugee Agency,
the Dadaab refugee complex has a population of about 238,600
registered refugees and asylum seekers as of November 30.