Building a Better Somali Region
“For years, I just thought it was too dangerous to return,” Zara Wale Abas, who had settled in Denmark, told IPS. “When the region’s vice president came and showed us the development going on, I was really surprised and wanted to return and check it out for myself.”
For many who remember Jijiga as a forgotten, war-torn region, photos of new hospitals, roads, schools and bridges – though still very few in number – have inspired many to take what they felt to be a brave step: to return home to see the development for themselves. In the last two years, over 300 people have returned, part- and full-time, to work on various projects.
In 2011, Abas came to Jijiga and ended up building an eco-tourist hotel, which she hopes will attract the diaspora and tourists. “It might still be just a few people who have returned but considering the insecurity the region endured for so long, this is a huge step for our people.”