Agent of Change Halimo Salah
Published May 16, 2016 by Abdullatif Osman
Halimo Salah, a community mobilizer at the town of Badhan
DISPLAYING AN ARRAY OF BEAUTIFUL traditional HAND MADE Baskets, Halimo Saleh emanates inspiration. her success has come at a price. THE 45 YEAR OLD MOTHER OF 10 children WAS DISPLACED FROM HER RURAL home as a result of THE RECURRING DROUGHTS THAT STRUCK THE AREA BETWEEN 2001 AND 2003. SHE THEN CAME TO BADHAN IN STRAINED CIRCUMSTANCES AND WITH LITTLE PROSPECTS FOR A BETTER LIFE.
Halimo reflects on the difficulties she and her family faced. As she didn’t have something to feed her children, she would go out and do volunteer work in an effort to keep herself busy as the constant reminder of her children’s misery was unbearable.
“The situation we were in was so depressing,” she says. “I worried more about my children.” “They kept asking me “what shall we eat?” or “mom, we don’t have water.” “My morale was low,” she says.
Thanks to Adeso’s cash program, Halimo started thinking positively with the modest income she received, and later became part of a women group, with 10 members, that owned a shop.
“Our lives have significantly changed,” she says. “Now the suppliers perceive us as creditworthy."
Halimo is now better off. She managed to by a pacel land, and is planning to build a house. Her children are also in school. One is finishing high school and is set to join a university afterwards. The impact has echoed much beyond her and her family. She became an environmental activist, a peacemaker, a counselor, and a community mobilizer in the town of Badhan. She plants trees in the streets, in schools, and other public places. For those displaced from the rural areas, she gives them advice on how to better adapt to town life. Every so often, she gives awareness on the effects of charcoal production and its contribution to desertification. She narrated how she would carry water jerry cans on her back for long distances to water the trees she planted.
Halima is passionate about the poor in her community. She is eager to share her experience with them in an effort to change their mindset and help them realize that they too can make a difference.
“I am struck by their stories. This is a personal experience,” she says. “I used to be in a similar situation. I strive to help them get on well with life, as I did.”
For the rest of her life, she has a commitment to enhance the well being of individuals and communities in the town. She hopes that with her little help, and those of other committed people like herself in a spirit of mutual support, life will be better off.