Farhiya Jama is 42 years old mom of three daughters. She is one of the residents of Bilan IDP camp Garowe and an activist leading her community on the fight against Gender Based Violence.

“When most people hear the words “violence,” they think of direct physical violence against a victim. Although this can be very true, there are a variety of other behaviors that are identified as violence,” said Farhiya, “as a survivor of many forms of violence, it is easy to not see the problem when you aren’t educated enough or when you were taught from a young age that it was normal or a cultural practice.”

Farhiya participated in one of the Capacity Strengthening programs provided by Y-PEER Puntland for facilitators and volunteers trained on FGM and GBV awareness.  

“I’ve learned through the program that one of the best ways to deliver a message that invoke emotions is through stories, people care and relate when the person talking to them have been through what they are speaking about and survived. Just like 99% of Somali women, I’ve been subjected to FGM, a pain that I swore I’ll never subject to any of my daughters, I was married off to an older man when I was thirteen and I suffered enough trauma to last me a life time on the first five years of that marriage, I had three miscarriages, have been abused verbally, financially and sometimes physically, and because of the type of FGM I was put through, I lost too much blood on my first labour but when I had my daughters and I was afraid they will have the same unfortunate fate as me if they lived in that environment so I moved away”

Farhiya spends her days raising awareness in different IDP camps in Garowe, helping victims of GBV to reach out to appropriate people that can help them.

“There are a lot of organizations and individuals aiming to end all forms of GBV including harmful practices such as FGM and Early Marriage in Puntland and are ready to help the victims and the society as a whole, but a lot of times people don’t reach out to outsiders for help, it is easier to ask for help when the person is part of the community, so when girls and women come to me asking for help, I direct them to the appropriate organizations and shelters and I make sure they receive the help they need.”

Farhiya has been one of the bravest souls we’ve worked with for the past two years, an influential individual in her community that is making changes, a great mother that raised three outstanding daughters and a powerful woman that is fighting for the rights of other women.

“I believe that being women is difficult everywhere around the world, even in developed countries women are subjected to violence, and it is no different in Somalia, where certain forms of violence is so normalized that even speaking about them is considered a taboo, I know my efforts in ending GBV seems like a drop of water in the ocean, but being able to help a single individual is a great achievement and I am happy and proud that I’ve helped many women, educated them on forms of gender based violence and I am still doing it”.

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