Dhaqane Yarrow’s story

Dhaqane spoke to IOM's Yahye Aden (Field officer in Garbaharey). © IOM 2014 (Photo: RASS/IOM)

By Mary-Sanyu Osire

Close to 14,000 households - about 84,000 persons - in Garbaharey District, Gedo Region Somalia, are not sure where their next meal will come from. To address this difficult situation, IOM Somalia with funding support from the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) has just concluded a cash-for-work project that was tailored to improve food security of close to 1,009 households - about 6,050 persons. For the duration of this project, IOM was the only international humanitarian organization that was present on the ground. 

Meet 60-year-old Dhaqane Haji Ibrahim Yarrow, a father of 10 children, who lives in Fanweyn – one of the target villages for this project:

My father was one of the richest men in Fanweyn. Growing up, I enjoyed a good life. As a young boy, I reared goats and camels for my father.

One shock after another

My first shock came in 1991 at the outbreak of civil war. Militia came and raided my home where they escaped with all my camels numbering between 50 and 55. Even after this raid, I at least had my goats and sheep which were enough for my family. I hoped that one day I would be able to raise camels again and be as wealthy as my father. Then the second shock came knocking!

The 2011 drought in Somalia was even more merciless than the militia. I lost my entire livestock including two donkeys I used to fetch water. I came from wealth, then to middle-class and finallly to a poor man; my life became very difficult. I tried to survive with my family for one and a half years during the drought but it became too much, so I moved with my entire family to a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya (Ifo camp). I became sick and I could not cope with the urban life there.

7 months in a refugee camp

I lived in the camp for seven months during which I lost one child, and the Kenyan security arrested my sons several times. That is why I decided to return home in Fanweyn village. I left my two sons and one grandchild from one of my daughters behind in Kenya.

I never want to become a refugee again

My family has benefitted from IOM’s restocking exercise. My eldest son Mohamed worked on the rehabilitation of Fanweyn village water catchment. In exchange for his work, we received eight goats, and sold one to buy food for our family. We kept the other seven goats, and three gave birth. We now have a total of 15 goats.

Whatever happens, I prefer to stay in my homeland and in my village. I never ever want to become a refugee again.