ECHO Funded Food Assistance Program Restores Hope in Somaliland

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Maryam Warsame is a mother of five Children, all boys aged between 2 to 7 years old. She lived with her husband, Ahmed Jama in Widhwidh village of Togdher region in Somaliland. The family used to run a small business that was their source of their income. Maryam was forced to flee from her home with her children due to abuse and conflicts by her husband.

 Finally she arrived at Sarmaanayo IDP settlement in Talex district of Sool Region. During their early days in the Sarmanyo village, life was very difficult for her and her family. Maryam could only earn a living and survive by washing clothes of other villagers. That too was not enough. She ended up borrowing from her neighbours and well-wishers. Consequently, she incurred a huge debt. Her firstborn, Mohamed was unable to attend school because her mother could not afford to pay for school fees.

 “ I separated from my husband and left his house in Widhwidh.  We travelled for many days to reach here (IDP settlement in Sarmanyo) so we can get support. It was a very difficult journey. When we reached here, we had very few clothes and nothing else." It was hard for me to find a job and earn a living.  My children didn’t eat on a regular basis.  Often times, they would sleep without food. Life was full of despair and I lost all hope.  I thank God I was selected to benefit from the project and I am very happy because my life has changed.

 In May 2017, Save the Children began implementing the first phase of an unconditional cash-based food assistance program funded by ECHO in Sool region. The Village Relief Committee (VRC) identified Maryam to be one of the beneficiaries to receive the unconditional cash support. In phase one of the project, Maryam received $201 a month for three months (May – July 2017) which she used to meet their basic needs as well save a small amount each month to cater for other needs.  In the second phase of the project she received $81 a month for four months (Sept – Dec 2017), which she used to buy food and clear the remaining debts.

Today Maryam and her children live a happy life. On a regular basis, they will have three meals a day. More importantly Mohamed is now in school, with a new uniform and school supplies. His fees have been paid and he is so proud to be able to attend school.  Maryam appreciates Save the Children and ECHO for their support.

Save the Children is one of agents that Allah sent to assist us. They helped us a lot to survive and we are thankful to them and to their donor for this support. We are requesting Save the Children and donors to keep the cash transfer program while we recover from drought which we are still struggling with.”

 Click to watch a vlog on how cash transfer projects help the drought displaced families in Baidoa- The case of Maryan Gashir.