The Gift of Empowerment: Vocational Training in Northern Somalia

Posted by Rick Perera on
Thu, 12/22/2011

In November 2011, Rick had the opportunity to visit Somaliland and Puntland—the most northern tip in the Horn of Africa—where conflict is less prevalent than the south and people have greater opportunities to rebuild their lives which have been affected by drought.  CARE not only helps communities develop sustainable access to food and water supplies, but also facilitates a plethora of training programs that foster sustainable development and empower people to take active roles in life improvement.  Rick gives the inside scoop on the CARE-sponsored beauty vocational program.  Read more, and discover how the gift of empowerment motivates a brighter future.

Asiya Mohamed Jama, 24, owner, Afrah Beauty Salon, provides vocational training, sponsored by CARE 

“We are a business enterprise that cooperates with CARE in training young people from poor backgrounds. Some of them come from internally displaced backgrounds, some of them are out-of-school youth, and some are school dropouts, some of them have come to town because their family’s animals have died. Many of the youth of Somalia are unskilled. With CARE’s support we have been targeting those youth that will not have access to education, and they are being given different skills. I have trained many youth who come to learn beauty skills and I have seen fast improvements. One example is that some of the trainees after only five months are able to do henna hand decoration and get $10, so that shows that they can at least change their lives in this short span of time. So if Somali youth are given proper skills training and then support afterwards, I am hoping that the future will be bright.”

Shukri Abshire Mohamed, 17, studying beauty in a practical course at Afrah Beauty Salon, supported by CARE

“None of my family is educated. I am the only person from the family who is learning. My family is impressed with how I have learned many skills and the benefit I have brought to them by making money.

Maybe girls used to be kept at home, but as long as the family is poor and cannot afford daily meals, I cannot be forbidden from going out for survival.

Previously they stayed at home and didn’t participate. Now, there is a high expectation of women getting involved in leadership because they are educating themselves. Gender disparities are being eliminated by public opinion. Parents are now making equal rights for their children. If they are sending their sons to school they also are sending daughters. So after a time there is an expectation that women will be leaders.”

Along with beauty vocational courses, CARE sponsors training courses in tailoring and computer skills.  These programs seek to empower individuals with skills to build a better life and a brighter future. Though these youth in Northern Somalia seem very distant, they are not that different from the youth in the U.S.—they too have dreams for the future.  The distance between New York City and Mogadishu, Somalia is approximately 6,728 miles—a lengthy journey, but you too can give the gift of empowerment…from your own home.  Tune in next week; we’ll look at how your gift of empowerment can directly impact the youth in Somalia.  –Rick