Somali migrant returns after risking everything for a better life

Every year, many Somali migrants and refugees make the difficult decision to leave their families behind and embark on dangerous migration journeys in the hope of starting new lives in Europe.

Yasmin*, a Somali refugee was just 26 years old when she left Ethiopia and made the decision to cross the Sahara Desert in an attempt to reach Europe. It was to be a harrowing journey fraught with danger.

After Yasmin’s husband died, her friends persuaded her to go to Europe to give her 9-year-old daughter a better life.  Yasmin attempted to cross Sudan in order to reach Egypt and travel on to Europe. She was caught twice on the journey– the first time she managed to convince the authorities that she was visiting relatives in Sudan but the second time she was taken by smugglers. After crossing the Ethiopia-Sudan border, Yasmin was told by smugglers that they’d take her to Egypt for USD 250. Yasmin recalls waiting under the shade of a tree for a car to arrive to take them to the border but instead she was beaten and raped. Yasmin said, “He took me somewhere, beat me and lastly raped me in front of my daughter.”

Yasmin fell pregnant as a result of the rape and gave birth to a daughter in Sudan. She feared being stigmatized and shunned by her family and friends for giving birth out of wedlock. Whilst in Sudan, Yasmin re-married a Somali man who helped her recover in hospital and fell pregnant again, but the marriage was short-lived.

Yasmin eventually made it back to Ethiopia with her three young children after a perilous journey across the desert without food and water. She now lives in Kobe refugee camp in the Somali region of Ethiopia but remains traumatized by the experience and suffers from serious health complications as a result of her injuries.

*Names have been changed for confidentiality

TMP – 20/10/2020

Photo credit: Shutterstock. Photo caption: Barbed wire at sunset.