Barwaqo Yusuf Nur was born on 1 January 1979 in Mogadishu. Barwaqo was 20 years old when she was separated from her family while fleeing from the terrifying civil war. She still does not know where her parents and sisters are.
After losing her family, Barwaqo tried to find ways to survive; in extreme hardship, alone without relatives, she managed to migrate to Saudi Arabia. She stayed there for 13 years, married Jama Ali, and had 5 children, but then was arrested while pregnant by Saudi Arabia’s immigration department, tortured, and jailed. In jail she gave birth to twins, both of whom died from starvation. Finally, after a long period of detention, she was deported with her husband and five children, landing back in Mogadishu, which was then still a war zone.
Barwaqo and her young family had nowhere to go in Mogadishu, which was at the time controlled by Al Shabab. After finding them on the street, some of these militants took the whole family to a house where they were interrogated. The Al Shabab fighters took all of their money and belongings but set them free after two days. After that, two of Barwaqo’s children died because they did not have anything to eat. The family left Mogadishu and made the long journey to Bossaso.
They lived at the Banadir refugee camp with no shelter, food, or proper clothes. Barwaqo experienced problems with her vision and eventually had to move to Bariga Bossaso on the edge of the town. Knowing that many of her friends and neighbours were getting houses through purchase or donation, Barwaqo asked for help from UN-Habitat, which requested a landlord from the Raf and Raho Settlement to take pity and donate a small lot to her and her family.
It was during the Eid ul Adha celebrations, when charity and good works are part of the Muslim tradition, and the landlord, Said Isse Omar, agreed. The landlord, Barwaqo, and her family met at the public market in Raf and Raho with the help of the Settlement Committee, and soon after took possession of their new land in the presence of community representatives and the Municipality of Bossaso, which will prepare the land title.
Now Barwaqo Yusuf Nur has some hope for improving her situation and for a brighter future for herself and her family. She hopes and prays that others like her will soon get a house and improve the way they live. She thanks UN-Habitat for their support, and the landlord for his generosity in their time of need, during which having a proper house offering shelter and protection was their most deeply felt aspiration.