Overcoming Adversity: Hamda Saed’s Journey of Empowerment with United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA’s) Y-PEER Programs

Overcoming Adversity: Hamda Saed’s Journey of Empowerment with United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA’s) Y-PEER Programs

<div>Overcoming Adversity: Hamda Saed's Journey of Empowerment with United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA's) Y-PEER Programs</div>

<div>Overcoming Adversity: Hamda Saed's Journey of Empowerment with United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA's) Y-PEER Programs</div>

Hamda Saed, a 20-year-old mother of two, has defied the odds and transformed her life through the unwavering support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the empowering programs implemented by their partner organization, Y-PEER. From a childhood devoid of education to now becoming a working woman and part-time student, Hamda’s remarkable journey showcases the transformative impact of UNFPA’s initiatives.

Hailing from a small village where educational opportunities were scarce, Hamda, like many girls in her community, was denied the chance to attend school due to her family’s nomadic pastoralist lifestyle. Instead, she spent her days herding livestock and engaging in simple games and folklore dances with other village girls. However, her life took a significant turn when she married at the age of fifteen, giving birth to her first child at sixteen.

Reflecting on her early marriage, Hamda acknowledges that despite it being a happy marriage, she often wonders how her life might have been different had she received an education and not been confined to a village with limited resources. It was during this period, marked by personal struggles, that Hamda’s path intersected with UNFPA’s Y-PEER programs.

When Hamda faced health complications during her first childbirth, her family decided to seek medical assistance in Garowe. Little did she know that this visit would be the catalyst for a life-altering transformation. The need for continued health checkups made Hamda decide to extend her stay.

In 2022, during an early marriage campaign conducted by Y-PEER, Hamda discovered the Tilmaame iHub. Managed by Y-PEER Puntland, the Tilmaame iHub offeres literacy programs tailored to the needs of young individuals. Witnessing a cultural dance and a thought-provoking play depicting the struggles of a young girl trapped in a cycle of early marriage and motherhood resonated deeply with Hamda. Inspired by the girl’s journey towards empowerment, Hamda wasted no time in joining the center the very next day.

Through Y-PEER’s initiatives, Hamda not only enrolled in literacy and numeracy programs but also actively participated in various trainings and campaigns. One such training equipped her with the skills to create energy-efficient stoves, providing her with a valuable asset. However, Hamda soon realized that the demand for these stoves was not as high as expected. Undeterred, she ventured into selling groceries within her neighborhood, becoming the sole breadwinner for her family, which included her five younger siblings.

Adversity struck once again when severe drought swept across the region, exacerbating water scarcity and food insecurity for Hamda’s already vulnerable community. As a grocery seller, she faced additional challenges due to the crop failures caused by the drought. Nevertheless, Hamda’s determination remained unshaken. She adapted to the situation, planning to open another stall in a different neighborhood after sporadic rainfall in her hometown offered a glimmer of hope.

Hamda’s resilience and dedication were rewarded when she graduated from the literacy and numeracy programs in January of this year. Currently, she is enrolled in a six-month digital literacy program, balancing her studies with the responsibilities of work, motherhood, and supporting her family financially. Her journey from a village with limited opportunities to a position of financial independence stands as a testament to the transformative impact of UNFPA’s Y-PEER programs.

With only two months remaining in her digital literacy program, Hamda remains hopeful, driven by the progress she has made thus far. She acknowledges that her life has been forever changed, thanks to the opportunities provided by UNFPA and Y-PEER. From a young girl deprived of education to a self-reliant woman empowering herself and her community, Hamda’s story serves as an inspiration to others facing similar challenges.

As Hamda reflects on her journey, she emphasizes the importance of hope and the transformative power of education and skills training. In her own words, she shares, “There’s always a ray of hope. Three years ago, I lived in a village with little knowledge and experience in life, and a year and a half ago, I didn’t know how to read or write. Now, I’m no longer illiterate, I have a small business, and I am financially independent.”

Hamda’s statement reflects the resilience, determination, and gratitude she embodies, and it serves as a testament to the impact of UNFPA’s Y-PEER programs in transforming the lives of young individuals like herself. The manner in which she has transformed her life is a beacon of hope for countless others striving to overcome adversity and shape a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNFPA Somalia.