(ERGO) – Hawo Ibrahim Ahmed, 14, has been working as a housemaid in Mogadishu since her family returned from the refugee camps in Dadaab camp in north-easternKenya three months ago.
Hawo does not mind the work, as she is treated well, but she does miss school especially as she had been ambitious in her education.
“I thought we would live a life better than in the camps and get free education and other support when we returned home,” said Hawo, whose family lives in an IDP camp in Weydow village on the outskirts of Mogadishu.
“I was very disappointed that my education was interrupted. I was in class eight in primary school in Dadaab,” she said. “But this is a very good family and they even let me visit my family sometimes.”
Hawo cooks and cleans for the family and lives in. She said it was her own decision to get a job to help her mother, a widow, support the other five siblings. Hawo earns $30 a month, while her mother makes $3 a day only when she gets work washing clothes.
Ma’ey Mohamed Barre, Haow’s mother, told Radio Ergo they have no family in Mogadishu so joined the IDP camp hoping to receive the support they were promised, including free education for their children for six months, when they returned from Dadaab.
However, she said they had received only one amount of food assistance two days after they returned to Mogadishu under the voluntary repatriation programme in September.
“We received two sacks of flour, a bag of porridge and a three litres of oil from the UNHCR office in Mogadishu,” Ma’ey said.
The family is not in any position to take advantage of the free schooling opportunities that exist in parts of the city due to their economic status. They also depend on Hawo’s earnings for basic necessitie.
Abdiwahid Ibrahim Abdirahman, a member of a committee formed by Dadaab returnees, told Radio Ergo that 470 families from Dadaab had joined three IDP camps on the outskirts of the capital since the beginning of the year. He said the committee surveyed once every two weeks to monitor the number of newcomers.
The committee knew of 45 returnee children working in various jobs such as shoe shiners and groundnut hawkers.