Somalia — Kenya — Malaysia.

A simple story of a 19-year-old refugee from Somalia.

Natasha Zolotareva
Nov 19, 2015 · 3 min read

We have all heard about the refugee crisis in media. Some stories are horrifying, some are simply heartbreaking. For the most of us “refugee crisis” is a few minutes worth of reading on social media. But for others, words “refugee crisis” represent their whole life:

“My name is Zainab Mohamud Hussein, I am 19-years old. I was born in 1996. My family is big, 25 people. I have 14 brothers and 11 sisters. 14 of my siblings live in Somalia, the rest live in Nairobi, Kenya. I am my parents’ third born child and that is why I am close to my parents. I love watching movies in my free time and listening to Quran as well.

I was born in Somalia. Las Anod, to be more precise. When I was 13-years old, we moved to Kenya where I started going to a school and got admitted into grade 2. I felt very afraid on my first day at school because Kenya is very different from other countries. Some Somalians are afraid of going to Kenya. They believe that living there, a good person will flip into a bad person.

When I was in Somalia, my life was different from my life in Kenya. I have changed a lot since then and from the kind of person I used to be. But I think I have evolved into being a better person. In Somalia, I always liked hanging out with my friends after school and going to parties. I did not like doing my homework. Back then, when I met people who didn’t like me, I would fight with them, even if it was in school.

After few years in Kenya I moved to Malaysia. But I still like Kenya better. I didn’t like the change of everything around me. Ever since I moved, I always have to be at home and can’t go anywhere. I have to be in my room all the time because my family won’t let me go out to visit friends.

I started going to a new school here, called Fugee School. It is better than staying at home, and I made a new best friend. But until today I still can’t forget my friends from back home and Kenya. I miss them a lot.”

By the age of 19, Zainab moved 3 times, and Malaysia won’t be the last place he’ll move to. Like all refugees, he is waiting for his chance to get resettled. There are millions of faces behind those two words: “Refugee Crisis”. Zainab is just one of them.

The “Stories From” Team collected the most powerful refugees stories into an upcoming book “Dawn of a New Sky”. You can learn more about the book by following this link. Those stories are uneasy to tell and uneasy to read, yet, no matter how much hardship they carry — each story is a hope for a happy ending. All stories in the book have been told by refugee teenagers who made it to Malaysia, where they can wait safely for a chance at a new home, safety, and opportunity.

The “Stories From” team is currently running a fundraising campaign to fund the book publication. More than that, we are going to use proceeds from the book sales to help the communities where storytellers come from — Fugee School for Somali Refugees, Pandawas Academy for Afghan, Iranian, Pakistani refugees, and Alliance of the Chin Refugees (Burmese).

Please take a look at our Indigogo campaign and consider supporting our printing costs by pre-ordering a copy of a book.

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