Tahriib Waa Aafo Qaran (Tahriib a National Disaster)

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Tahriib a National Disaster - oTahriib Waa Aafo Qaran (Tahriib a National Disaster)
4th June – Hargeysa Cultural Centre

Today we are witnessing an unprecedented exodus of people from mainly war-torn countries and conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East to supposedly safe and prosperous environs in Europe and North America. The sheer numbers of people who are willing to risk their lives by placing themselves in the hands of ruthless human traffickers, and travelling through war-torn countries and cross the Mediterranean on flimsy boats and rafts, is very disturbing. What we see reported in the media is usually the final leg of extraordinary journeys of hardship that people have endured from their home countries. We know very little about those who died along the way. Southern and Northern governments appear incapable of addressing the root causes of the phenomenon.

In Somaliland the phenomenon of illegal migration (tahriib), particularly among young people, has been growing. Almost everyone knows a relative or a relative of a friend who has gone on tahriib (wuu tahriibay or way tahriibtay). This is having a devastating impact on families. The government and civil society in Somaliland are keen to understand what drives the problem and to find solutions to it. While the Hargeysa Cultural Centre has been working with artists over past twelve months, the issue of tahriib has also emerged in their paintings, poetry and writings. The Centre is therefore organising a national debate on tahriib, bringing together members of government, civil society and the international community.

The event will consist of three main sessions:

8.30 – 12:00: Understanding Tahriib (morning)
In the morning scholars, ministry representatives, international and national civil society organizations who deal with the social consequences of tahriib will discuss the phenomenon, based on two presentations:

“Tahriib – Why do our young people migrate from Somaliland to Europe for work and decent life? – Abdikarim Ahmed Mooge, Deputy Minister of Planning and National Development. Abdikarim Ahmed Mooge was an active member of civil society, and a youth activist, before his appointment to the executive post two years ago.

Tahriib – a social and economic analysis” – Nimo Ilhan Ali, SOAS
Nimo-Ilhan Ali is a PhD candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She has been conducting research on the expansion of the higher education sector in Somaliland and youth employment, and is currently conducting research on tahriib.

Panel discussion: a way forward
Awale Mohamed Mouse, director of Planning and Development for the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will present figures and facts about Tahriib in Somaliland. This will be followed by a panel discussion, the invited include speakers and representatives from Ministry of Planning, of Ministry of Youth and Sport, SONYO, IOM and other civil society organizations.

16.00-18.00: Talking about Tahriib
It is often said that by talking about an one is halfway to solving it. The afternoon session will be given over two talking about tahriib through stories, poetry, drama and film.

Thursday Storytelling session for children will cover the tahriib Children from grade 7th of Hargeysa schools will perform to their peers a new play about tahriib.

19.00-21.00: Young People and Tahriib
The day will end with a discussion among young people about tahriib and what can be done to address it. The discussion will be preceded by stories, poetry and film.

Storytelling: “Ma gafe” is a notorious human trafficker who enriched himself through human trafficking. Ma gafe is also a title of book co-written by six young writers who recount true stories of people who have gone on tahriib. Stories from the book will be read to inform the discussions.

Film: A short film on what young Somalilanders think about the tahriib will be screened.

Poetry: Poets have extensively talked about the misfortunes of tahriib. Poetry will be presented by the young emerging poets Cawaale Deeqsi, Yaasiin Maddaale, and Saado Abdi Amarre, a female poet whose voice has been long advocate for social issues.


The Hargeysa Cultural Center was opened in August 2014 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. The Center was established by Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF). Since its establishment, the Hargeysa Cultural Center has become an important feature in Hargeysa’s cultural landscape. The success of the center owes much to the respect that RCF has gained from its work on running the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair, which, now in its eighth year, has become one of the most admired cultural events in the region.

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