Halima Mohamud Mohamed is a 20 year old Somali woman living in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda. She works as a youth ambassador, and helps the most vulnerable in her community, especially survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). For her work, Mohamed is being honored, along with two other youth refugees, at the WRC’s Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon on May 4.
Mohamed is also a victim of GBV. She had to quit school when she became pregnant, and was forced to marry at a very young age. After her husband died, the terrorist organization Al-Shabaab threatened to kill Halima and her father if they tried to flee with her child. The situation eventually became so dangerous that Halima, then 17 years old, was forced to leave with her father and her brothers. Unfortunately, she had to leave her child behind. The child is still in Somalia.
At the refugee camp, she earns a small income by interpreting Somali language and English for the American Refugee Committee, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She uses the money she earns to pay for the school fees for her younger brother, and to buy food and clothing for other refugees in need.
Mohamed participated in the WRC’s and UNHCR’s Global Refugee Youth Consultations (GRYC) that took place between October 2015 and June 2016. The GRYC brought together 1,482 young people from 23 countries to discuss their shared priorities and possible solutions to the global refugee crisis.
She is also an active member of the Uganda Global Refugee Youth Consultation team, and is the Vice Chairperson for Community Technology Access where youth are trained in computer use.
She’s a role model for the young girls in her community. “I am helping young single mothers and survivors of GBV to stay in school,” she says. Mohamed hopes to study law and business so she can continue her advocacy work, but on a broader basis.
Her mother is still in Somalia, and she hopes that one day her family will be reunited. “I know I can’t go back now, but I hope to someday, if the country gains independence,” she says.