A smile from an internally displaced people’s camp

 Ibrahim Farah Isaq* – a father of four – has lived in Bossaso since 1995. He was born in Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle in southern Somalia, where he completed intermediate school. His father owned farming land, houses and a small business before the outbreak of the civil war in 1991.


Ibrahim’s family fled from their homeland following the inter-clan war between 1992 and 1994 that killed one of his brothers. They left without any belongings. His parents and two young sisters travelled to Kismayu then to Hagadera refugee camp in Kenya. Ibrahim, however, opted for Puntland, which was relatively peaceful. He started working with fishing companies in the coastal Beila District of Bari region, first as a clerk and later as a fisherman. Ibrahim then worked with a boat-manufacturing factory, but it ceased operations in 2008 due to the reduced numbers of fish and the frequent harassment of fishermen by pirates.

After that, he looked for a job at a livestock inspection centre, without success. He now relies on handouts from relatives for his family upkeep.

“When I got married in 1996, my wife rented a house in Rahiis village for about 8 dollars per month. However, we never got along with the landlord. After a month he asked us to leave. My wife was a resident in town and therefore we could not move to the IDP camps. So we rented another house,” he explains.

After this move, the couple had their two children. Unfortunately, the owner of the house disliked families. The arrival of their second child only made things worse.

“We were forced to move to a house in an area predominantly inhabited by my wife’s clan,” he relates. “However, my income could not sustain the rent of 18 dollars per month. In a few months, we owed the owner a lot of money. I sacrificed our food and healthcare money to pay rent. At times I had to work for the owner and this way we were exempted from paying rent.”

Ibrahim’s woes ended with the initiation of the project entitled Protection, Reintegration, and Resettlement of IDPs in Bossaso.

“I tried several times to access permanent shelters built by UN-HABITAT in Bariga Bossaso, but failed. However, in October 2009 my family was enlisted for resettlement on donated land in Ali Shanle.”

Today, he cannot hide his joy. He owns a permanent residence and his family is secure.

“I thank UN-HABITAT for constructing the house I live in. I also thank the government’s selection committee for considering my case and Sheekh Ali Shanle for donating the land. I now enjoy permanent residence,” he concludes.

Protection, Reintegration, and Resettlement of IDPs in Bossaso aims to improve human security and living standards and provide durable solutions for the reintegration and resettlement of IDPs and returnees in Somalia, with a particular focus on IDPs in Bossaso. It is a joint programme by five implementing UN partners ─ UN-HABITAT, UNICEF, FAO, UNHCR and UNDP ─ and is levered by recently strengthened UN capacities for field-based coordination of humanitarian assistance. It is funded by the UN Human Security Trust Fund, which is administered by UNOCHA.