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Rising above the storm

February 7th, 2022

16-year-old Yasmin, her parents and five siblings live in a temporary makeshift dwelling in Kenya´s Dadaab Refugee Camp. This has been their home since they fled Somalia due to the civil war.

Life in a refugee camp

Dadaab refugee camp is one of the third largest refugee camps in the world. It has three camps namely Ifo, Dagahaley and Hagadera. Yasmin and her family reside in one of the three camps. 

The sleeping space is small. Yasmin sleeps on a small old mattress on the floor together with her three siblings. Her mother, on the other hand, sleeps together with the other two children on a torn blanket. Yasmin’s father sleeps in an adjacent makeshift room close to the family. The family does not have a kitchen and prepares their meals using a three-stone fire located outside. Yasmin´s family depends on food rations distributed by the World Food Program (WFP). However, the food does not meet all their nutritional needs and they sometimes have to sell part of the food rations to buy other food items not supplied by WFP. As for water, the residents in the camp access water from communal water points at their block. For children like Yasmin, there is no space within the compound for them to play.

Unforeseen betrayal

Yasmin and Abdi, 18* grew up in the same camp. He is two years older than her and their friendship grew more and more as the two would often go to school together. Yasmin would also share her personal issues with Abdi and he would always encourage her. This created trust between them as she felt safe and free with him. Early this year, Abdi went to visit Yasmin and found her alone at home. Her siblings had gone to the Religious school (Duksi)  while her parents had gone to look for casual work. Abdi gave Yasmin a sweet. Unknown to her, it had been laced with a drug. 

She woke up later and realised something was amiss. However, she did not suspect anything could have happened to her. A month later, Yasmin found out that she was pregnant. She went to Abdi to confront him and find out if he took advantage of her on the day he gave her the sweet. He admitted he had done so and pledged to take care of both Yasmin and the baby, only for him to change his mind later.¨I felt ashamed, isolated, angry at Abdi and afraid of the responsibility that awaited me as a teen mother. I have let my family down and I don’t know where to hide my face.¨ Yasmin explains.

Hope restored

Yasmin was referred to Terre des hommes from International Rescue Committee (IRC) on 27th October 2021 where she had gone to seek medical services. She received four individual counselling sessions, which focused on helping her manage her feelings and emotions, deal with anger and feelings of shame and fear as well as promote self-care. A home visit was conducted to assess her immediate needs and her mother was educated on ways of supporting her. Yasmin was also provided with emergency social support which included food items and non-food items such as a mattress, mosquito net, clothes for the baby and diapers through the ECHO project. The legal services provider is still following up on Yasmin´s case to help in the pursuit of justice.

Learn more about the project in Dadaab, Kenya
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