Is there anything worse than feeling lonely and left behind? Of course, there’s many things. But few can argue against the validity of someone feeling so incredibly alone in a single moment. For many of us reading this, however, we’re not talking about the same aloneness as someone who has grown up inside a refugee camp.
Halima Aden wants to tell us what that type of sadness feels like – and point your attention to the crisis in Yemen.
“The worst thing about being a refugee is that you think nobody cares about you,” Aden says in a recent Instagram post.
“You think that somehow the world has forgotten about you and you’re all alone.”
“You need supplies. But supplies don’t show up. You need medicine. But medicine doesn’t come. Food and water, they don’t come either. You think that the world has forgotten and that you’re all alone, that people don’t care.”
“Right now. Yemen is fighting an epidemic, cholera. They’re fighting a pandemic, COVID-19. A famine. And a war. Children in Yemen are suffering deeply and they think the world doesn’t care,” Aden continued. “I know we all care but we don’t show it. Make a donation to UNICEF right now – please. When those children see boxes of supplies and medicine and food arrive, they know that the world has not forgotten about them.”
Aden’s upbringing inside Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya is a well-documented one. After her mother fled the Somali civil war, Aden was born into the camp and along with her brother, were lucky to be one of the few families bound for resettlement in the United States. They were sent to St Louis, Missouri, where Aden found herself in yet another poverty-stricken area and at a school without an English immersion program. Her mother, who Aden dubs her “superhero,” chose to relocate them to Minnesota where they found a Somali community and teachers who were prepared to go the extra mile.
Speaking to GRAZIA editor Isabelle Truman in London earlier this year, Aden acknowledged that despite the loneliness, there were a few silver linings, like U
NICEF’s aid. “I think my life is a testament to the work that they’re doing on the ground,” she says of UNICEF. “I was able to flourish. Despite it being a refugee camp, I can still say I had a good childhood because of their programs.”