Topic: My journey to Hamilton, New Zealand

Topic type:

I was born in, Somalia and had been brought up in south Somalia till the age of 8 years, then the civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991

It was a long and difficulty journey, nevertheless althouggh I was forced to leave my birth country due to civil war and hardship casued by the civil war,I do not regret coming to New Zealand.

I was born in, Somalia and had been brought up in south Somalia till the age of 8 years, then the civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991. The central military government collapsed and the country became a field for the rebels who overthrew the military government to fight each other for power.

My family decided to flee the country seeking a safe place. We bagged up and left for neighbouring Kenya. On the way to Kenya I witnessed dead bodies on the side of the road, I was so scared and little. There were check points were armed gangs will rob you, but we hired guards who were armed to escort us across the border.

We arrived Dhobley, the last town in Somalia before Kenya however the border was closed and we were not welcome to enter Kenya. This was not a rule that we were going to abide as we needed a safe heaven. We hired people who knew how to get across the border on foot and monouver border security detection. We carried our valuables on donkeys and it took us about 3 hours to walk through bushes to get into the town.

When we arrived Liboi Kenya, we met our extended family members who were already there. They provided a shelter for us before we were able to settle in our own. though the living conditions were appalling, it was unbelievable to rest once and for all the sound of artilleries and small arm fires. Although there were still bandits who entered in the refugee camp at night from Somalia border rape and rob refugees and for many other reasons and in search of better life we moved to Mombassa Kenya which is on the coastline. There I went to school for the first time in Kenya. I went there to school for the first time since I left Somalia.

My sister and her 2 children and husband were accepted as refugees in New Zealand and they departed for New Zealand on June 1994 and settled in Hamilton. My sister sponsored us to join her in New Zealand under the family reunification category visa at the time, the process took 3 years. My sister called us 1997 advising us that our application had been approved. This was an exciting moment and we moved to Nairobi the capital city of Kenya to book for our flight from there to New Zealand.

My time in Nairobi, I have witnessed police stopping people and ask them Identifications to catch illegal migrants. The police never stopped me as I was under age to have an Identity card though I did not go far from the mosque which was 10 minutes walk from where we lived. When we departed from Nairobi to Auckland airport with a travel documents provided by the New Zealand immigration, I thought this was the end of the hardship by the civil war.

Year 1998, I was enrolled at Hamilton's Fraser High School where I struggled to achieve school certificates. 1999 I left school with no qualifications and enrolled at WINTEC's foundation studies and was accepted to start the course in 2000 but when I started the programme, I couldn't continue because of personal issues. Mid 2000 I enrolled at Apostolic Training Centre's security guard certificate level 2 which I successfully completed. 

Late year 1998, I started working a part time job at a mushroom farm in Morrinsville but left late 2000 and started working full time at Mobil service station and, had been working there till I started driving taxi in earlier 2002. At the Mobil service station I gained communication skills and people skills. While driving Taxis helped me to gain grow further my communication skills, assertiveness, ability to respond to violence and abuse including racial and physical abuse, the ability to assess risk situation.

Because I was involved a lot assisting Somali refugees and migrants using my language knowledge as tool to help them access community resource, I realised that social work was some thing I enjoy doing, and late 2002 I applied for certificate in social services and was accepted to start on earlier 2003. while studying, I also continued to driver taxis as well as advocate and support fellow Somalis as student social worker. I graduated 2009 with Bachelor of applied social Science (Social Work).

Current type of work and professional values.

I am currenlty a social worker and promote social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, intervening at the points where people interact with their environments is part of my job, and this is guided by the principles of human rights and social justice. I am fully registered Social Worker with a practising cerficate under the social worker's registration Act 2003, and belong to Aotearoa, New Zealand Association of Social workers as full member with competency cerficate.

I share my beliefs and values with the wider Somali society.

Many Somali values are similar to Kiwi ones. Somalis believe strongly in independence, democracy, egalitarianism, and individualism. Like  many kiwis, Somalis value generosity. Somalis respect strength and often challenge others to test their limits. Somali justice is based on the notion of "an eye for an eye." Somalis are a proud people, and their boasting can stretch the truth more than a little. Saving face is very important to them, so indirectness and humor are often used in conversation.

Somalis are also able to see the humor in a situation and laugh at themselves. While Somalis can be opinionated, they are generally willing to reconsider their views if they are presented with adequate evidence. Somalis have a long history of going abroad to work or to study and are known for their ability to adjust to new situations.

Somalis deeply value the family. The strength of family ties provides a safety net in times of need, and the protection of family honor is important. Loyalty is an important value and can extend beyond family and clan. Somalis value their friendships; once a Somali becomes a friend, he is usually one for life.


Most Somalis are Sunni Muslims. Islam is the principal faith and is vitally important to the Somali sense of national identity, although traces of pre-Islamic traditional religions exist in Somali folk spirituality, I am a sunni Muslim.

My specialist knowledge concerning issues, client group and community.

I came to New Zealand in 1997 as a refugee from Somalia and can relate well to the difficulties faced by refugees trying to settle in this country.  I can also fairly share the traumas experienced by refugees while fleeing from war and prosecutions, this is due to my own experience and working with refugees. I voluntarily worked for the Hamilton's Somali Friendship Society and things that I did for the community included but is not limited to Interpreting, general advocacy, immigration, other resettlement issues, citizenship, driver licence and counselling.

Clients that I worked with have experienced war traumas and witnessed murders, rape, lost loved ones, lost their belongings, lost their identity and have nightmares of those experiences. Refugees are people who had homes, jobs, and in a country that speak the language they speak and shared the values that they have. Suddenly and unexpectedly they were forced to flee with their lifes.

According to my experience as a former refugee my self and to my experience of working with refugees, they are defenceless, unaware and fearful of the unknown. As they are not familiar of the services available to them, they need to be spoken to in a language that they can understand and services provided to them in a culturally appropriate manner. This may make Joe bloke kiwi feel that Kiwi way of life is under threat. However its is making sure that people's needs are met in a way that can help improve their situation.

Since I became a qualified Social Worker, I have been working with clients from the mainstream and had been assisting dysfunctional families to make changes where poverty, family violence, drug use, and sexual abuse are the main issues. Its valuable asset to have the knowledge that I obtained growing up in in a society rich of diversity which enabled me to easily relate to people from different culture and background.

when one chaper of life ends, another chapter starts.



Abdul Mohamed


Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

My journey to Hamilton, New Zealand

First Names:Abdul
Last Name:Mohamed
Place of Birth:Somalia
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
My journey to Hamilton, New Zealand by Kete Site Admin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License