Abdirahman Mohamed, 20, sends $100 a month home to his pastoralist family living in Hulul village from his earnings as a plumber in the northern Somali town of Lasanod.
His family was among thousands bankrupted by the severe drought of 2016-2017, losing their 300 goats and 25 camels in the rural area of Abeesal in Sool region and forcing them into an internal displacement camp. His plumbing job has become their lifeline.
“A lot has changed in my lifestyle due to this job. When you are employed, you can get all you need whether it is living in a good home or getting good healthcare,” said Abdirahman.
Abdirahman completed a course in plumbing at Adhiadeye polytechnic, 32 kilometres west of Lasanod, which offers free skills training to internally displaced youth. He and his family were living in Adhiadeye IDP camp, dependent on food aid from humanitarian aid agencies and relatives.
He was among 50 young people who graduated from the polytechnic in 2020 with a range of practical skills and who are now supporting their families through hard times.
Abdirahman makes between seven and fourteen dollars a day and has joined a local savings group, aiming to buy more livestock for his family, who have restarted livestock rearing in Hulul with 50 goats bought for them by relatives.
“The money I send my family every month is keeping them in a good life in the rural area, otherwise they would have had to sell the 50 goats to raise money to pay the bills,” said Abdirahman.
Another Adhiadeye polytechnic plumbing trainee, Said Jama Mohamed, 24, told Radio Ergo he often used to sleep hungry before he had his vocational skills to fall back on.
“This job has made a big difference in my life because I used to worry about where to get food. Sometimes I missed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because I had no one in this town,” he said. “Today, I am self-sufficient. I want to start my own business when I save up enough. Currently, I have saved $500.”
Said works on infrastructure projects laying water pipes. It is a hard grind from six in the morning until noon but he is happy to be earning enough to support his family in the village. He sends them $100 to $150 a month. They lost 500 of their 507 goats in the 2017 drought and have managed to breed from the remaining seven to raise their current herd of 40 goats.
Fellow Adhiadeye graduate, Mohamed Farhan, has a huge responsibility at the age of 19 supporting his parents and 10 siblings from his plumbing income. He is paying $30 monthly fees for two of his brothers who enrolled in a local primary school three months ago, and supports his family living in Anjid IDP camp with $100 a month.
Mohamed has enrolled in evening classes in English and Mathematics, hoping to improve his own education. His family lost 150 goats to drought in 2017 in the rural area of Geed-hamaray, 25 kilometres west of Lasanod, leaving them without a livelihood.