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24 September 2014
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Voices: Turning words into action
Hashim Duale

A life changing experience

Hashim Duale was at university in Somalia when his life changed in a moment. Find out what happened.

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Hashim Duale is a Somali development worker
Imagine one day you are at University and the next without warning you have to flee from your room with only the clothes you stand in. Having to run city by city through the South Somalia unable to get to your family, unable to turn back.

Hashim Duale was born on 15 April 1967 in Mogadishu the capital city of Somalia. He was the seventh child in a large family. Hashim went to University to study agriculture as his aim was to be able to help the Somali people learn how to farm their land more efficiently.

Hashim was in his early 20s when the war started. In the safety of the college campus he listened to the reports on the radio not feeling as if his life was under threat. The war moved very quickly and similar to the pictures that we saw recently on the television during the Iraqi war - the looting began until the college was stripped of its resources.

The Somalian flag
Flag of Somalia
The students were forced to choose between joining guerilla war factions and pick up a gun and shoot who they were told to shoot or to be killed. Many of them chose to flee rather than pick up a gun. Hashim ran with some friends trying to find a place of safety. He was unable to get back to his family as the war had already took over the area in which they lived.

Hashim and some friends managed to get to a departure point where the captain of cargo ships were selling places on an already crowded cargo ship to flee over to Kenya for $15. If you could not pay the asking price there was no place for you.

The Kenyan authorities refused the asylum seekers entry for three days and people were kept on the boat for three days while the government made up their minds.

Hashim after help from an Italian Professor Emmanuelle Natalicchio managed to get to Italy where he finished his studies. The Italian government had colonised Somalia many years ago and allowed Hashim to study in Italy until he finished his course. His visa then expired and he had to move on again.

Hashim at work
Hashim loves his job as a development worker in Leicester

Six years ago Hashim came to the UK and spent some time in London before moving to Leicester. He is now married and has two young children. He works as a Somali Development Worker and is based at the Eastern Leicester Primary Care Trust.

Hashim aims to facilitate the integration of the Somali community here in Leicester. He is involved in many projects and is the host for BBC Radio Leicester Voices project.

Hashim has introduced our Voices producer Helen Cockle to many people in the Somali Community and is a key figure in building bridges between all the various communities in Leicester.

The involvement of Hashim Duale has given the Leicester Voices a valued endorsement and contributes significantly to the work of Voices.

Voices Voices Voices
Voices in Leicester
Find out more:
The BBC Leicester Voices project focuses on the Somali community.
What is Voices?
Capturing the stories, concerns and aspirations of those unheard voices across the UK.
Find out more here.


Jain Temple - Place of Worship
arrowHashim Duale's life changing experience
arrowSomali Education Day
arrowHistory of Somalia
arrowIntroduction to Voices in Leicester

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