Family First for a Father of Seven

Date Publish: 
Migrant Assistance

Somalia – Meet Mr. Habiib, a Somali migrant assisted to return home safely by IOM in May 2019, along with his seven children, as part of the IOM Somalia Migrant Protection and Assistance Programme – with funding from KS Relief.

Imagine for a moment you are the father of seven young children, the oldest is 12 years and the youngest only six months old. This in of itself is a monumental task with great responsibility. You work long gruelling hours as a night fisherman to meet the needs of your family. Days and months, even years pass by as you build a life in a foreign, often harrowing land. Then, in an instant, your life is turned upside down.

In January 2019, Mr Habiib, was shocked when his wife unexpectedly demanded a divorce, leaving him and their seven children to marry another man. He explains, “this created a rumour within the Somali community in Aden that a man took my wife away. This was a shock and I hated the idea of staying in Yemen any longer.”

Unfortunately, Mr Habiib is no stranger to hardship. In 1993, at just 14 years old, he left Somaliland for Yemen. “I left because of the war in Somaliland, and when my parents moved to Borama, I decided to go to Yemen,” says Mr. Habiib.

Putting the love and care of his children first, Mr. Habiib says that they need constant care and he is returning home to provide a better life for them.

In May, IOM assisted Mr Habiib and his children to return to Berbera, Somaliland by boat and provided medical support upon arrival. When asked if he knew about IOM previously, he explained, “I just saw the name once I arrived and came on board. Though I was unaware before, [IOM] supports with all the basic needs for someone traveling to a place he has not been for almost 25 years.”

What is next for Mr. Habiib and his children? “I will be taking care of my children, building them a better life and encouraging their education. I hope to also request support from humanitarian organizations in providing a reintegration grant to buy essentials so that we have some sustainable source of income.”

He urges caution to those considering a move to Yemen, describing the situation of migrants there as dangerous resulting from war across the country, employment instability and night robbers. “You can easily lose your life and only a crazy person would go back to Yemen.”

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