Because of the severe droughts in Southern Somalia, Abdir Hussein, head of a family of 27, had lost everything: goats, cows, donkeys. She had one last chance to save her family from starvation: selling her beautiful daughter Zeinab into marriage at the untimely age of 14.
Last year, an old man bid 1.000 $ to take the girl as his wife. The money was enough to ensure her 27 relatives would reach Dollow, a Somali town on the Ethiopian border, where NGOs like COOPI were distributing food and water to assist families fleeing the drought.
Despite being very reluctant, Zeinab accepted to get married, knowing that otherwise her family would have died of hunger.
Three days into the marriage, Zeinab couldn’t stand the abuse and ran away with her family to Dollow. When her husband found out, he reached them and reclaimed his dowry back or the girl.
Zeinab’s family could never afford to repay the amount. Fortunately COOPI’s staff, who was there running humanitarian assistance, found out about Zeinab’s situation: “we must do something for this girl”, said Deka Warsame, COOPI Regional Representative. The staff decided to all pitch in and collected enough money to refund the man his dowry.
Zeinab is now a free girl.
For over two years, Somalia has been affected by an unprecedented and severe drought with devastating consequences for agricultural production and farm incomes. More than half the population of 12 million are in need of aid.
COOPI has been working in Somalia since 1984 to improve food security, water and sanitation and health.
With our main partner, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid, we carry out integrated emergency responses targeting vulnerable populations in communities in South Central Somalia, like Dollow.
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