The personal and professional future of Kamil Ahmed, born in Somalia in 1999, depends on the government of Kenya, which announced the closure by 2022 of the refugee camps of Kakuma and Dadaab, where about 420,000 people, mainly Somalis, live.
Dadaab is one of the oldest refugee camps on the continent and has long been the largest in the world. There is a great deal of excitement among the people, some are thinking of returning to Somalia while others are preparing to emigrate to a neighbouring country.
Among the thousands of people facing this dilemma is Ahmed, who arrived there with her mother in 2008 after her father was killed in Mogadishu. “I lost my father, I had to leave my village and my school,” recalls Ahmed, who adds that she, however, had managed to find “peace and hope in Dadaab”.
From the age of nine, all that Kamil heard while listening to the modulated frequency of the small radios that accompanied countless families to Dadaab, was just a strange and foreign soundtrack. That sequence of words and music was Star FM Radio Gargaar, the only radio station in the camp.
Day by day, those words and music brought begin to bring the girl closer to the world of radio. When Ahmed finished primary school, she enrolled “in a year-long youth program offered by the Norwegian Refugee Council. There she learned the basics of journalism. And soon after she began her connection with Radio Gargaar, which in Somali means “Help”. The station programs, in which service information predominates, did justice to the name they broadcast every day. A container became an unattractive but effective study. It is from there that Ahmed addresses an audience that now exceeds 200,000 potential listeners every day.
The young Somali woman has long been the only woman on Radio Gargaar, which at first was not well received by the people in the refugee camp. They said she should leave the radio and get married. In this regard, the Somali presenter said: «I am proud of my work, for which many people respect me. But there are other people who don’t like what I do. They put a lot of pressure on me, but when they insist on getting married, I laugh and pay them no attention. “
Her voice, together with those of her colleagues at the station, seems to be essential in the coming months, in which the future of Dadaab is at stake and, above all, that of the thousands of people who live there. “The imminent closure of the camp – he said – has affected everything, our business, our livelihood…. The radio is important to keep an eye on the changing political decisions of the Kenyan government ”. However, she seems to have clear ideas. She is considering and wants a future life in Somalia. She wants to study and practice journalism in her homeland, despite the dangers that her colleagues run in the country. “I know how dangerous it is for someone like me to go back and be a journalist in my country. But my future will be Somalia. ” The present, here and now, is called the Star FM Radio Gargaar.