When you travel in Mogadishu, Children have a large presence across the city. Everywhere you go, you see a child. In the KM4 district, there are a lot of children with boxes of polish looking to shine anybody shoes. As I was lingering around the neighborhood, I could see older men treating the young children, some as young as 6, like they were slave for that 4 minutes of getting their shoe cleaned. You can see the lost and humiliation the child is feeling right across his/her eyes.
The child would often charge for 2,000Somali Shilling, which is exactly 9 cents in US dollars, for a clean shining shoe. In those 4 minutes, it seems like the child is working as if they would earn about $100. The way they are treated and humiliated is absolutely disgraceful. They are sent by their parents to earn a living while the parent is either selling pastries in a food stall or begging across the other street.
Mogadishu has changed and it seems as if Mogadishu has forgotten its children. Things need to change and they need to change now. A new Legitimate government is about to open its doors for the first time in 22 years. The government must recognize there are a lot of problems to deal with in Mogadishu. They cannot just wave their hands across this problem.
The government must open up schools, recreation centre’s, trauma classes and teach people about the environment and how one can support or sponsor a child in their local community.
As the rich is getting richer, it really does seem the poorer will only get poorer.
Mohamed Hassan (Dj)