Born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Syria, Ahmed’s story is not your typical one of a refugee. Although a Somali national by birth he has never been able to step foot in his country due to conflict but when fighting started in Syria, he found himself with even more limited options.
Having come to Jordan to study biomedical engineering at university, when the exchange rate plummeted, Ahmed explains how he didn’t have enough money to finish his final year and graduate.
“I was homeless. But I was stuck. I couldn’t go back to Syria or to Somalia. I didn’t know where to go so I approached UNHCR and they helped me.
Speaking almost word-perfect English, Ahmed has since established himself as a representative of the Somali refugee community. Initially starting volunteering for a local NGO as a translator between English, Arabic and Somali, he tried as much as possible to help those who got into trouble with the authorities. Since then for the last six years he has worked for the Jordanian (?) Red Crescent and IOM, before more recently joining Nuzha Community Centre as a member of the Community Support Committee.
“I know a lot of people who have gambled on their life and gone back to Somalia because they didn’t have any other choices. I want to make sure that this is not the case, that people are able to find safety and security here in Jordan no matter their nationality”
On a personal level, however, Ahmed’s dream is to find a more stable life outside Jordan.
“A lot of my relatives now live in Europe. My sisters went to Sweden and I have uncles in the UK and Canada. When you go to a new country and able to locally integrate, you have an opportunity to get involved in the country, to become a productive member of the community.
“As Somali’s we have a lot of good examples of this. Mo Farah in the UK, Ahmed Hussein in Canada, Ilhan Omar in the US. This gives me hope and shows what we can achieve if we are given the opportunity.”