Workshops in 'Alternative to Violence Project' underway in Dadaab Refugee Camp.Photo: AFSC / AFSC-Somalia
I was born in Central Somalia in 1984. When the civil war escalated my parents decided to cross over to Kenya in 1991. I was told they crossed amid many hardships. These days I hear it is more difficult. I was only 8 years old then so I can’t remember how the journey was. I have therefore been a refugee for most of my life.
In Dadaab I managed to go to school. There are [many] youths in the camp and most of them are unemployed. Some of the youths engage in drugs and others even prostitution.
As for me, I struggled to make myself useful. I have my own private school where I teach other children who are refugees.
I attended the AVP [Alternatives to Violence Project] training. In it I learnt how we can avoid violence. I will use the training in resolving conflicts in the camp more so among the youth in the camp. I also continue to show the youth that drugs do not help – they only make situations worse. I have in the past talked to them about drugs and five of them have since stopped taking drugs.
-Omar, Somali refugee youth, 26 years old (Dadaab Refugee Camp as told to AFSC-Somalia staff)
AFSC has been working with the Alternatives to Violence Trust–Kenya do Alternatives to Violence project (AVP) workshops in the Dadaab Refugee Camps since 2008. Originally trained mainly by Kenyans, the Somali youth are now the facilitators and promoters of the project. In addition to holding regular workshops, the AVP manual is being translated into the Somali language so that the program can spread even further.