By Suleima Hassan
Somali youth have been singled out as the most affected group by years of lawlessness in their home country but a section of the youth have now emerged who want to rise to the occasion and change the status quo.
One such group is Eastleigh based Badbaado team who celebrated their first anniversary on Sunday in a colorful ceremony held at Eastleigh Mall’s social hall.
Calls for a productive Somali youth filled the air as speaker after speaker urged the youth to part ways with negative thinking and ethnicity.
Guests were taken through the group’s activities in the colorful event which was attended by current and former leaders and politicians from Somalia, social activists, veteran journalists and the general public.
Badbaado is a Somali term that literally translates to ‘rescue’ and its team members include Abdalla Kaneec, Abdirahman Samadoon, Hussein Fowzi, Issa Abdul, Naziid Abdi among others.
And true to their name, the group has managed to create awareness among the Somali community in their one year of selfless service.
In his opening remarks, group Director General Mr. Hussein Fowzi said that their mission was to educate, inform and empower members of the Somali community which has suffered massive disintegration following years of lawlessness back at home.
“Badbaado was formed by a group of youth who came together for the sole purpose of uniting the Somali community wherever they were” added Mr. Hussein
The team has so far produced several programs on inter-ethnic marriages which is a relatively new phenomenon to the Somali community, drug abuse, illegal immigration and social etiquettes among other topics. They disseminate their messages through films and drama, talk shows, get together events among other available avenues.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Abdikarim Ahmed Ali, a former Somali Minister and Member of Parliament called on the youth to spearhead positive changes in the society and shun tribalism which he said was the root cause of all problems facing their home country.
While congratulating Badbaado for their initiative, Mr. Abdikarim called on the youth to adopt a positive attitude towards their culture and language by passing their messages in their mother tongue so that the uneducated masses back at home could receive their message with ease.
His remarks were echoed by Mrs. Asho Abdalla, a former Somali Member of Parliament who also spoke at the event terming the youth as the backbone of the society.
Abdalla added that it was painful Somali youth were used for the wrong reasons in all the conflicts witnessed in the country but would be dumped by their masters once they were injured or died in the conflicts hence putting extra burden on the shoulders of their already troubled families.
The former MP urged all stakeholders to support the youth in their initiatives to bring positive changes to members of the Somali community.
Mr. Ahmed Gure, Founder and CEO of Hiiraan online on his part called on the Somali youth to be at the forefront in tackling challenges facing their communities.
Reminding them of the achievements of the famous SYL youth group, Mr. Gure urged Badbaado team and the youth at large to work with like-minded colleagues in order to reach far and wide.
“We know the challenges facing Somali youth the World over. It is our moral duty to support our youth in unison to give them a brighter future” said Mr. Gure adding that Hiiraan Online will always give them the platform to reach their audiences internationally.
From Shiisha smoking, armed conflict to illegal immigration, Somali youth currently grapple with a myriad of challenges and the activities of Badbaado team will come in handy in ensuring awareness is created on the harmful effects of the said vices.
The audience was also treated to captivating real life stories on the effects of Shiisha smoking by Mrs. Fardowso Jama Yussuf, a director at Aw-Jamac research and cultural center.
Other dignitaries who spoke at the event were veteran journalist Mrs. Shukri Mohamed Farah, Abdullahi Shaashaale and Abdisalan Farah.