World Refugee Day 2014: ‘My people are scattered all over the world’


UNHCR Somalia marks this year’s World Refugee Day in collaboration with Somali artists and writers. Poetry, artwork and essays on the theme ‘My Somalia’ depicting the plight and resilience of the forcibly displaced have been submitted to UNHCR Somalia – today, the winners are announced and awarded.

Press Release
Friday, June 20, 2014
Mogadishu 20 June 2014 – ‘My people are scattered all over the world, some are stranded in the deserts emaciated, confused and exhausted’ – the words origin from one of many contributions sent to UNHCR Somalia for an Essay, Poetry & Art Competition launched on the theme ‘My Somalia’ on the occasion of World Refugee Day. Artwork from Somali refugees in Ethiopia, poems and essays from Kenya, photos from refugee camps in Yemen and contributions from writers in Somalia are among the creative works sent to UNHCR Somalia.
The competition is an initiative by UNHCR Somalia to mark the international 20 June World Refugee Day and to recognize the resilience and plight of more than one million Somalis living as refugees in the region in addition to the estimated 1.1 million people displaced within Somalia.
‘It takes extraordinary courage and strength, as well as creativity and resilience to be able to get through life as a refugee or otherwise in displacement. The Somali people – indeed living scattered all over the world – live to tell the powerful stories, not only of loss and suffering, but also of hope and resourcefulness. We are very grateful to have received these diverse testimonies from Somali men, women and children in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen sharing with us ‘their Somalia’’, says Alessandra Morelli, UNHCR Somalia Representative.
The written and visual art contributions for the Essay, Poetry & Art competition have been reviewed and UNHCR Somalia is pleased to announce the winners of the three categories:
Essay: 1st prize: Said Mohamud Isse – recently returned to Somalia after more than two decades as a refugee in Ethiopia and Kenya
2nd prize: Hussein Hassan Dahir – living in displacement within Somalia – for the essay ‘My people’
3rd prize: Abdullahi Abdi Hassan – refugee in Kenya – essay on the struggles and hopes for Somalia
Poetry: 1st prize: Barre Sheikh Abdullaahi – returned from displacement in Somalia – for the song ‘Butterfly’, a dialogue between a poet and a butterfly forced to flee from Mogadishu during the war
2nd prize: Bashir Haji Mohamud, a Somali refugee in Kenya for a poem and drawing both depicting the war and conflicting interest in Somalia
3rd prize: Abdullahi Yussuf Aden – a Somali refugee in Kenya – for ‘My beauty’ about Somalia
Visual art: 1st prize: Abdirahman Abdulkadir Osman, a refugee in
Ethiopia – depicting migration
2nd prize: Abdi Mohamed Abdi, a refugee in Kenya – for a series of paintings of Somali culture
3rd prize: – Mohamed Coronto, a refugee in Yemen – for a photo series from a refugee camp
The review panel members were: Louise Tunbridge from Radio Ergo, Mohammed Adow from Al Jazeera, as well as Representative Alessandra Morelli and the UNHCR Somalia team.
The winners have been contacted directly by UNHCR Somalia and a compilation of the essays, poems and artworks on ‘My Somalia’ will now be published by UNHCR Somalia. Interviews with UNHCR Somalia Representative Alessandra Morelli and the awarded artists can be arranged for by UNHCR Somalia upon interest.