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An Hour in Mogadishu

Rahmo, Mohamed, and their mother in Somalia
Rahmo, Mohamed, and their mother in Somalia Photo: Personal

When she was five-years-old, Rahmo Bare boarded a flight with her brother, Mohamed. It would be the last time they would see their mom for five long years. Fleeing for safety from the Somali Civil War, Rahmo’s family found themselves split up across the world. When she and Mohamed arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in 2014 (and then ten years old), Rahmo couldn’t take her eyes off her mom waiting to receive them. She was so excited that she ran straight into the revolving doors. 

 “I didn’t know what to say. I was just so happy. I hugged her, and cried, and told her, ‘I love you’.” For years, Rahmo had wondered, “what if I never see my mom again?” Safe at last in her mother’s arms, Rahmo felt prepared to take on the challenges of adjusting to life in the United States. 

Living alone in Somaliland and later Ethiopia, Rahmo didn’t have the opportunity to attend elementary school, much less receive an education in English. Still, she was determined to succeed. Less than six years after arriving to Dallas, Rahmo is in the top 1% of her graduating class – receiving stellar grades qualifying her to apply for the competitive Dallas Mayor’s Intern Fellowship

She hoped to intern with the IRC in Dallas, which had helped her family reunite and rebuild only a few years earlier. While most teenagers were getting ready for summer break, Rahmo was competing against hundreds of students for a single position at the IRC in Dallas. 

Rahmo and Mohamed
Rahmo and Mohamed Photo: Personal

Now one month into her internship, Rahmo works in the resettlement department and helps set clients up to thrive in Dallas. Rahmo remembers her own resettlement journey, and her friends and family, including her dad, who remain back home in Somalia, which informs her care for the clients she serves. She hopes to raise awareness of global displacement and refugee resettlement in Dallas and is currently leading information sessions for the public.

After hearing of her accomplishments, Richard Crothers, Somalia Country Director for the International Rescue Committee, connected Rahmo with the opportunity to learn from IRC Somalia staff about the IRC’s Health, Governance, and Women’s Protection & Empowerment programs that support Internally Displaced Persons, women, and returnees in Somalia. Having the opportunity to speak with Nasra Hassan, Governance & Rights Coordinator, Zahra Hussein, Senior Women’s Protection & Empowerment Manager, Muna Jama, Senior Medical Officer, and Dahir Shire, Field Coordinator, was particularly special for Rahmo. She was inspired to see the work being done to increase access and protections for Somali women in society. 

Rahmo videochats with IRC Somalia staff
Rahmo videochats with IRC Somalia staff Photo: Alex Laywell

As an aspiring health practitioner, Rahmo received advice from staff who encouraged her to be unwavering in the pursuit of her dreams. Zahra reassured her, “We paved the way for you guys, but you are the future. You are on a great path right now. Don’t ever worry about making mistakes.”

Rahmo has not been back to Somalia yet, but she hopes to be able to give back someday. She misses her friends and family, eating muufo and spondias, and going fishing in the sea every Friday, but as Dahir said, “You were in Mogadishu for an hour today!”

 

Thank you Nasra, Muna, Dahir, and Zahra for the inspiring work you do, and for sharing your experiences and advice with our Mayor’s Intern. Mahadsanid!