XANAANO CHILDREN’S ORPHANAGE
Xanaana is a voluntary organization started in the year 2008 by Somali and Norwegian nationals. It is an organization that caters for orphans who have either lost both or one of their parents. The organization is based in Galkaayo, a
town in the middle of Somalia.
Most of the people here live below the poverty line and they cannot care for their own children let alone caring for others. A child who has lost his parents therefore has to endure a lot of hardship and misery and most of them end up on the streets eventually becoming very dangerous and merciless criminals.
To make it worse today Somalia is one the dangerous places on earth and these children become lucrative property for militia groups and human traffickers. It is because of these reasons and many more that made us think that we were obliged to lend a helping hand to these orphans. The word “Xanaana”means to take care of.
As we all know the situation at large in Somalia needs a lot to be desired because it has been in war for the past two decades, displacing millions of people and killing hundreds of thousands. Many people have been forced to flee and live behind all their belongings and property and never to look back behind forever because of cruel memories or pessimistic of the general situation.
Thousands flee to the neighboring countries where they face persecution and harassment from the locals and the government who accuse them of not having the right papers despite having the knowledge that they are refugees. Many are forced to pay as bribes the little remittance they get from the families in the Diaspora to the police accusing them of crime.
The accusations and counter accusations are endless and it is because of these that many Somalis have opted not to flee from their country but rather go the regions less hit by the war such as the north and the central provinces of the country. However this does not mean that they are better off because they still need huge assistance especially the orphans.
In the year 2008 Mr. Farah Abdi a Somali Norwegian, went back to his homeland and what he saw was destruction and strong animosity all in the name of power and control. He was moved by the conditions the people were living in and the despair and hopelessness written on the faces of youngsters who even did not know anything about life yet.
The children were mesmerized and confused by the harshness and cruelty of life, the cruelty that took most of their parents was something that they still could
not comprehend. It is because of these reasons that Mr. Farah decided to start an orphanage for the children who lost their parents and did not have anyone else to take care of them.
He promised himself that we will take action and do anything in his capacity to help these desperate children and he immediately talked with the locals of that area in order to get people he can keep in touch with tomorrow when he left the country. What he wanted was someone who really cared and felt the pain of orphans and indeed he got a lady who knew the pain of raising orphans. She was a lady who lost her husband in the war and was the sole bread winner for her five children.
Selling the idea
When Mr. Farah came back to Norway he sold the idea to his fellow Somalis and he got a good response and many applauded him for the good initiative and promised him to give him a helping hand in their capacity.
He managed to convince many people that these children have got none other than them and many hided to his call of generosity and kindness towards children who were less disadvantaged.
The membership of the organization grew by the day and today it has Two hundred (200) proud members who contribute one hundred kroner (100kr) every month. We hope to strengthen the ability and productivity of this organization in the future and secure a more prosperous and bright future for these children. The first one year we solely focused on the children health and education and we rented a building for them where they could sleep and watched over and mainly kept away from problems of the town and mean people. When we began we started with hundred children (100) whereby we provided the basic necessities and we did not have many qualified teachers for the school. The children were suffering from various ailments when they came whereas quiet a bigger number of them were amazingly healthy after being checked by the doctor. The diseases they were suffering from ranged from TB and malnutrition amongst others but luckily now they have managed to battle and today we can proudly say that most of the children are in a pretty good shape.
The reason why we chose to start an orphanage and not any other charitable organization is because war is harsh and destroys the innocence of children. Today in Somalia children as young as twelve are kidnapped from their families and made child soldiers and unfortunately most of them do not go back to their homes alive.
Some as young as this are put on the front lines of the war and we can all imagine what that means, it simply means instant death. Some become hard criminals if they survive the first onslaughts of war and never come back from this life.
They become murderers and robbers with no mercy at all to anyone and surely who can blame when they were not shown mercy when they were young. A whole generation of Somalis was born and still living in war and they have never seen anything other than war in their entire lives and unfortunately some of them will think that life is all about war and destruction. Every day in the news we see people fleeing from war and the majority is children who probably have to walk hundreds of kilometers and endure the harshness of trekking for long distance.
Many flee with people they do not know or their close neighbors after losing all their families, a child like this is shattered forever and the nightmares of their childhood will always haunt them. Others watch their parents executed in front of them or worse their mothers being raped.
No child should face these kinds of persecutions or bury their own parents who would have taken care of them and would have been their best friends in life because there is nothing sweeter than a girl who is a friend with her mother or a boy whose father is his mentor and role model. The situation in which children live in Somalia cannot just be described in a few sentences because it takes a lot more than that and we will never have a complete picture unless we see it for ourselves. It is a daily struggle every sunrise and with no brighter future the only option left for them is to migrate and cross dangerous seas and in the end many lose hope and take the chance with the smugglers who they do not know what their intentions are. Seventy percent of the refugees today in Somalia is said to be women and children, some live with families whereas some live in the open with no food or proper clothing. Others live in camps which are full to capacity and the prospects of a woman being raped are very high. Somali refugees are based in Kenya, Yemen and Djibouti living in make shift shelters made of old clothes and some are lucky to get tents.
Statistics to date
Today we look after one hundred and thirty children in our home and we are growing by the day and there are also equally as many children on the streets who we would like to take in but because of our financial restraints we cannot take them in. The girl child faces more problems than the boy and they need more attention and care and that is why we take in more girls than boys.
In the orphanage also we recruited more women than men to look after the children and as of today we have four women and two men. Six workers for a hundred and thirty children is a drop in the sea, but this is due to the lack of funds and we cannot pay for more than that but in the future if we get more sponsors we will definitely balance the ratio.
We are therefore appealing with the international community, well wishers and charitable organizations to assist us in helping out these needy children who have none other than us. They cannot support themselves neither feed themselves and the responsibility lies with all of us who are rational human beings. We have seen many times on the televisions the look of a needy child and it is something that is unbearable and very touching. These children need help today and tomorrow they will put on a broad smile on their faces and say thank you and ask God to have mercy on you and your forefathers because giving a helping hand to a child who was not expecting from you is something that does not go unnoticed.
We are once again sincerely asking you to kindly help these orphans in person and in groups.
Abdi Tahlil (Chairman Hanaana orphanage)
Anab Abdullahi (vice chairman Hanaana orphanage)