Garowe, April 19, 2019 – Parents in Puntland are unknowingly spoiling kids by not preparing them for workplace, and thus, disabling most of them to be of any use to today’s labour market needs, let alone preparing them for tomorrow’s high-tech jobs employers will be looking for. An average youth in Puntland doesn’t possess simple job skills, not even preparing a cup of tea for himself/herself, not to talk about helping parents at home in minor tasks like home repair works such as carpentry, fencing, TV resetting, player programming, family budgeting etc. Kids are like disabled persons to be fed and being taken care off on daily basis by parents, who never bother empowering children and teaching them lifeskills to be financially independent tomorrow. This is an alarming information to parents, employers, Puntland State and Somalia. Puntland students in schools are not encouged to seek summer jobs. There are barely vocational training schools here and no pressing need noticeable to me to establish some by the Puntland Education Department. Worst of all, every youth is contemplating about leaving the country to claim refugee status and seek opportunities elsewhere. One would advise refugee receiving nations, therefore, to come up with youth programs instead to curtail flow of refugees from Somalia.
Why am I focusing on Puntland parents and youth in this piece, instead of those in other parts of Somalia? You may find the answer below.
Let me share my observations with you. It isn’t based on thorough studies and statistics. But, here is what it is.
There is nearly zero employment of Puntland youth in the service and hospitality industries in Garowe, Galkayo, Qardho and Bosaso. Current employees were and are still being recruited from Ethiopian increasing migrant popualtion, Southwest State of Somalia, Northwest (Somaliland). Based on my obervation and personal inquiries, I found at last one restaurant waiter in Garowe, who told me that his mother, not father, was of Puntland origin, himself coming from Southern Somalia.
Mohamed is a young man of 20 years of age. He came to the restaurant of my hotel with his entire family members to lunch out the other day. He seemed very pleased coming to the restaurant for a rare lunch outside the home. While the family was waiting for their order, he came out to answer a phone call from one of his friends. He came up to a place outside the restaurant, where I was sitting, having a bottle of cold water. Upon finishing his his call, I had a chance to ask him a question: ” How did you enjoy the restaurant food here?” He said that he didn’t taste it yet, “but I think it must be good, if not better than our food at home. My Mam is tired of cooking and father decided to take the family here today” “Good for you”, I said. “By the way, do you know yourself how to cook and help your mother?” “Me! Even my older sister doesn’t know how to cook. My mother thinks she burns the house if my sister tries to help mother cook. So, she never learned cooking”.
Mukhtar works for one of the finest hotels in Garowe, relatively speaking. He came from Elbarde in Bakool, Southwest State. He told me he has to take care of three wives there. He couldn’t get any job opportunity either in Elbarde or Baydhaba, so he came to find employment here. “My only headache here is that I have to take time off from work and often rush to Bakool to attend a problem with one of my wives”
I used the services of Omar a few months while I was staying in a hotel in Galkayo, Puntland. Surprisingly, I saw him serving in a hotel in Garowe the other day. “ASC, CUMAR?” I greeted him. “ASC, ADEER” (peace be upon you, uncle), he greeted me back warmly. “How come you are here?” I asked him. “Galkayo is overcrowded now. There is a lot of young people from Somaliland looking for work. Wages are becoming less and less every week”.
Professionals in Puntland State like engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc are former retirees of the failed Central Government of Somalia. They are recent returnees, almost all came back from the Somali diaspora population. They aren’t getting any younger. You don’t see young professionals here. This is another clear indication that Puntland and parents are not producing the leaders of tomorrow in any fields of human endeavors. Serious situation, I would say.
Somali parents within the diaspora do not fair any better either.They had exported this domestic weakness with the kids overseas, perpetuated it to raise youth handicapped by the mailice of not preparing them for their future life at all. Too bad, one would say.
One more thing. Somali’s dictatorial repression and the following civil war had exposed our domestic weakness to the outside world. Historically, Somali overseas travelers were trained diplomats, students on scholarship and seamen, never had we had women and kids compelled to find themselves helplessly as refugees in foreign countries. This wave of refugees, unfortunately, didn’t have the social skills needed to survive in foreign lands. Somali women and youth suffered most in refugee camps, schools and at workplace. Moreover, they were not trained to be assertive against bullies and abusive foreign men. They fell victim to preying men. This is part of Somalia’s tragedies. Shame on all men in Somalia. Shame on people, who don’t hold their politicians/leaders accountable for yesterday’s abuses of power and today’s mal-administration