Somalia : Determined to Make a Difference

Hassan* was born in Somalia, but fled to another country to escape from conflict.

Hassan* was born in Somalia, but fled to another country to escape from conflict. He lived in a refugee camp for many years before finally returning to his hometown. He came home determined to make a difference.

Shocked and saddened by the state of affairs in his country, he volunteered as an intern with the Ministry of Health. He gained valuable experience and skills and now works in the nutrition department at one of Medair’s supported health clinics in Somalia.

With Somalia in a severe food crisis, Hassan’s work has never been more important.

At first, he could not believe how thin and weak some of the children who came to the hospital looked. “I remember one day, a four-year-old child was brought here by his mother,” said Hassan.

The child was admitted immediately and staff started giving him Plumpy’Nut, a high-energy therapeutic food supplement. Hassan could not hide his joy when the child recovered after 10 weeks: “He got chubby! And he was able to walk again!”

There are times when Hassan needs to fight back his tears. He sees mothers from his area feeling so helpless when they bring their children to the facility. “I feel like crying sometimes,” he said. “The mothers are so poor that they cannot afford to feed their children well. I admitted eight children to the Severe Acute Malnutrition programme already today.”

Despite the challenges, Hassan knows that he is doing life-saving work that is vitally important to his community. Treating malnourished children can be incredibly rewarding, because children can recover quickly as long as they have nourishing food and the right treatment. He loves to see children recover until they are well enough to be successfully discharged from care. “I feel contented about what I am doing,” said Hassan.

In Somalia, Medair works with local partner organisations to improve the knowledge and skills of their staff, and make the impact of our presence more effective and more sustainable. Hassan* works for one of these local partner organisations, where Medair’s senior staff supervised and trained him on the treatment and management of malnourished children.