It’s a green pitch for children in Digale!
A few miles north of Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa lays Digale camp—one of the largest and oldest settlement for Internally Displaced people (IDP). This settlement is home for more than 6,000 individuals; most of them are children and youth. The area is covered with rocks making it very difficult to drive through even with 4X4 land cruiser.
Save the Children with financial support from the Arsenal Foundation have constructed a football pitch to encourage and give opportunity to children to play football.
The football pitch came as blessing for the children of Digale and it also had lighting. There were no safe spaces for children to play. one of the things you notice inside, is the warmth of the green artificial grass. The 45X25M pitch is surrounded by a high fence to provide maximum security and privacy for the children. This is extremely important for Somali children as the space will allow girls to access and use the pitch.
Football is a hobby for almost every Somali boy. It is the most widely played game in the country. Everywhere you go you will find children playing football by the roadside or young men discussing football leagues and championships as they sit at numerous teashops across the country.
Children with full football gear including Arsenal branded red jerseys were happily waiting for the pitch to be officially opened. The children were ready to play soon after the opening ceremony. The parents, teachers and other community members were also present to witness this grand opening ceremony, which was memorable for Digale community.
“I am very happy to play in this modern playground. Before we used to play at other places that were full of rocks. We didn’t even have football shoes so it was very difficult to play. Now we have the gear and this amazing pitch. We thank Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children for this, ” said Mohamoud Ibrahim a well-dressed teenage footballer in Digale pitch.
One can’t miss the extreme happiness Mohamoud and his friends feel as their feet touch the green grass, something they dreamt of. Though these kinds of playgrounds are not the first of its kind in Hargeisa, this is the first of its kind in an IDP village like Digale. There are many playgrounds with artificial grass in Hargeisa, they are rented and sometimes not affordable For example the Digale children wouldn’t be able to play on such pitches for two reasons: the distance and the costs per hour/per child. Having a free one inside their village is a blessing for Digale community which other IDP children do not have. The children in Digale IDP Village, now have a space to explore their potentials.
Saddam Hussein Carab
Save the Children, Somaliland/Somalia