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Somalia, 1 November 2016: Devastated mother provided support by Japan-funded care centre

KISMAYO, Somalia, 1 November 2016 – When Sahra took the momentous decision to leave Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and return home to Somalia with her children, she knew there would be challenges. But she had no idea of the tragedy she would face there.

Sahra arrived at Dadaab as a young girl of 11, after walking with her widowed mother and siblings for several weeks to escape the conflict at home in Somalia. After spending most of her life in Dadaab, she became scared of being arrested. She heard the refugee camp would be closed and decided to return to Somalia with her children, leaving her husband in Dadaab.

Sahra, who was pregnant at the time, reached with southern Somali town of Kismayo but did not know anyone there. She was given repatriation grant and a local woman let her and her children stay in her home. There she gave birth to baby girl.

While Sahra was breastfeeding the new baby, her young daughter was lured to another room in the house by a neighbour living there and brutally raped by a neighbour. Sahra did not hear her scream, but another woman rushed over and soon a crowd gathered.

The perpetrator was taken to police station but released after some days. Sahra’s daughter was taken to Kismayo General Hospital, and sent home after a checkup and treatment.

In the following days, Sahra received serious threats to harm her and her children from the rapist and his relatives, so she sent most of her children to Mogadishu to stay with a relative. She kept the baby and rape survivor, who was still sick, with her and moved to another area.

However, her daughter’s health continued to decline and after three weeks, she went back to the hospital. She was discharged the next day and died at home. Her distraught mother did not know where to turn.

Fortunately, a local Somali organization SEDHURO, funded by the Japanese Government through UNICEF Somalia, stepped in. Sahra and her baby are now staying at their Interim Care Centre where Sahra receives medication and psychosocial counseling and is making good progress. The Minister of Women’s Affairs and Human Rights visited the hospital where her daughter was treated to find out more, and a team from the Ministry visited Sahra and her baby.

With the help of SEDHURO and the Ministry, the perpetrator was brought back to the police station.

“This terrible case again illustrates how we must continue to support those subjected to rape, abuse and other forms of gender-based violence, along with their families and those close to them,” said Sheema Sen Gupta, Chief of Child Protection for UNICEF Somalia. “Our funding from Japan means we can continue to provide and expand these crucial services to some of the most vulnerable members of society in Somalia today.”

 

 
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