A Successful Journalist Returns to the Refugee Camp He Once Called Home

In 2010 Moulid co-founded FilmAid’s Refugee Magazine in Dadaab Refugee camp. After working as a humanitarian journalist in Somalia and completing a Master’s Degree in London, he returned to Dadaab to educate and inspire FilmAid Kenya Media Training students.

Dadaab has a special place in my heart, it is the only home I knew for most of my teenage life after fleeing conflict in Somalia at a young age. It is where I grew up, went to school and established myself as a humanitarian journalist.

I was about ten years old when we first came to the camps and settled in Ifo. My early memory of Dadaab is filled with isolation and despair. However, behind the misery lay a dream so powerful that no hardship could ever stop it. It is this hope that kept me going. I had a passion for journalism and I have always wanted to be a journalist, ever since high school. After completing my secondary education, I joined FilmAid’s media training program in 2010 where I co-founded the first Refugee Magazine in Dadaab.

The magazine was a breakthrough for youth like me in the camp who wanted to be champions in our community.

Coming back to Dadaab to work with FilmAid media students this summer to inspire and share my skills and experiences with them is really exciting. The new students I met are simply amazing. I can see myself in their eyes, eager to grasp new knowledge, asking me questions about how I started the first refugee Magazine in Dadaab, how that helped me build confidence to write for international media organisations and how I got a job in Somalia. I am privileged to be in a position to answer these questions as I, very much, relate to the students. For me to come back and share real life experience is extremely powerful. I could see the glimmer of hope and the feeling of ‘we too can make it’ in their faces.

Refugees need to thrive, not just survive.
— Moulid Hujale

Dadaab seems to have been forgotten with the world’s attention consumed by the growing refugee crises elsewhere in the world, such as Syria and South Sudan. Many aid agencies have either scaled down services in Dadaab or withdrawn because of limited funding. This means that the current class of students could not publish the Magazine regularly. The facilities and training equipment are not sufficient, but they still continue to utilise the little they have to pursue their dreams.

Refugees need to thrive, not just survive. Imagine being confined in a camp for a quarter of a century just waiting for handouts to stay alive. We need to support them and prepare them for the future. They want to gain skills to build their capacity and stand on their own feet.