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Empowering refugee youth through peer mentorship

Ubah Abdirizak was born in Somalia in 2004 and due to conflict and an especially prolonged drought she fled along with her family to Kenya at the age of 7. Speaking about life in Somalia, Ubah recalls the fear and uncertainty from the constant conflicts around them. She is the fifth in a family of ten children, and from a humble background that depends on their father who does not have a reliable job working in the livestock market.

Posted on 15 Nov 2022

Ubah began her education in 2017 at Midnimo primary school in class 3, at the age of 11 years which gave her an opportunity to start a new page of her life.

Ubah is a bright student, and good in public speaking, according to her environmental club patron. After seeing how her friends had benefitted from the peer-to-peer mentorship program in the previous year, she approached the club patron who recommended her to enroll into the program where she was part of the monthly protection sessions at the school from June to October 2022.

She attended five learners led sessions where Uber and other participants discussed about child rights, positive coping, stress management, future aspirations (SMART goals), Communication, problem-solving, decision-making skills as well discussions on common challenges faced by young women like her living in the camp, for example; school dropouts, teen pregnancy and forced marriage.

Ubah says, this made her realize the importance of education and after learning about having SMART goals, she has remained focused and determined to achieve them.

During the peer-to-peer sessions, Ubah is attentive, and curious about the various topics discussed especially child rights, future aspirations, and career choices. Ubah aspires to be a prominent politician who can advocate the rights of the marginalized, vulnerable people in her home country as well as the rest of the world.

“Many girls have been pushed into survival sex by circumstances and are suffering in the blocks due to lack of parental/family support” she went on and encouraged her peers during one of the sessions…
“…our dreams can be turned into reality by hoping for the best and not giving up easily”

Currently, she takes time to lead on talks to her peers on SGBV, child rights, and importance of education with other girls over meals at breaktime.
In 2022, 189 learners took part in the sessions and her hope is that the program will extend to many other schools in the camps.

With this knowledge we have gained, we are now ready to form support groups and help young girls in our school who are at risk of child marriage and teen pregnancy and refer them for assistance to DRC.

/  Ubah Abdirizak

Funded by EU Humanitarian Aid

Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
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