Ahmed Ali, born in 1990 in Somalia, came to East London with his mother and brother at the age of 11/12, to join his sister.
Ahmed Ali was born in the city of Burao in the northwest city of Somaliland where his father worked in a water company. When he was quite young the family went to live in the village of Baldadick, This was to avoid the civil war although as a child Ahmed was unaware of the conflict. The family lived in a traditional Somali house made of natural materials. Ahmed was the youngest child and was close to his mother. There was no school in the village so Ahmed helped his mother around the house and to care for the sheep, goats and camels. He also played football and other games. It was a natural, free way of life that he enjoyed.
His sister, encouraged by his mother, went to school in Djibouti and then to university. After a while Ahmed’s mother took the other children to join Ahmed’s sister. Ahmed, aged 9, went to a madrasa in Djibouti where he learnt Arabic and studied the Quran. His sister migrated to England where she became a teacher. His mother and her other children followed but Ahmed’s father stayed in Somaliland.
Ahmed was about eleven when he came to London. Initially he stayed in Fulham with his sister, mother and older brother. This was the first time he went to school. He didn’t understand anything and soon after arriving his mother died. His sister, Ahmed and older brother moved to East London but because of various problems Social Services got involved. Ahmed was fostered by a Pakistani family and then given accommodation in inappropriate housing with others who were disruptive or on drugs. Ahmed felt he could have benefited from an advocate within the Somali community who understood his background.
Ahmed now lives on his own in Stepney Green. After a spell at working in a warehouse and studying at Tower Hamlets College he is now doing a degree in Business Management at London Met. He is reunited with his sister and other members of the family and has a large circle of friends particularly within the Somali community. He enjoys Somali poetry and comedy and wants to set up a homeopathy business drawing on traditional remedies in Somaliland.
Ahmed returned to Somaliland for the first time in 2014 and met the three widows that his father married after his mother died. All his father’s ex-wives and half siblings welcomed Ahmed with open arms. Ahmed and his other sisters and brothers, some of whom now live in Norway, feel it is their responsibility to support this extended family.
Ahmed would like to go back and live in Somaliland and help reconstruct the country. It is there that he finds peace and thinks that a visit earlier to his homeland could have helped him during his troublesome, teenage years,