Source: UNFPA Somalia |

From Refugee Holding Ground to Youth Empowerment Hub: The Inspiring Transformation of HIRAAL Youth Center

The center caters to young people aged 14 to 35, both male and female, whether they are in school or out of school, disabled, internally displaced, or from underserved youth groups

The impact of HIRAAL Youth Center can be seen in the inspiring stories of the young people it serves

MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 15, 2023/APO Group/ --

HIRAAL Youth Center, located in Hargeisa, Somaliland, was once a sanctuary for those who had nowhere else to turn. Today, it stands as a symbol of hope and opportunity for the youth. Thanks to the support from UNFPA, the EU, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this center has undergone a remarkable transformation, becoming a space where young people can thrive, grow, and unlock their full potential.

The center caters to young people aged 14 to 35, both male and female, whether they are in school or out of school, disabled, internally displaced, or from underserved youth groups It provides a wide range of programmes and services aimed at empowering young people and giving them access to crucial skills. Vocational training programs, health services, co-working spaces, and event facilities are just a few of the services that make this center a hub of interest and empowerment for the youth.

With a belief in the power of education and skills development HIRAAL Youth Center, provides vocational trainings so that young people can learn valuable skills such as tailoring, cooking, henna art, handcrafting, and makeup. These skills not only open doors to employment opportunities but also enable them to pursue their passions and turn their creativity into successful careers.

Beyond vocational training and skills development, the center also provides trainings in communication and soft skills, empowering young people to express themselves effectively and become confident leaders. The center also offers counseling services and comprehensive health education, covering topics such as sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse prevention, birth spacing, nutrition, and parenting. By addressing these vital aspects of well-being, the center strives to equip young people with the knowledge and decision-making skills necessary for a healthy and fulfilling life.

As a vibrant hub of collaboration and innovation, the center also provides co-working spaces designed for collaboration, so that young people can work together, share ideas, and incubate their own businesses. The center also provides event spaces that foster cultural activities, digital training, and technological exploration, to nurture the talents and aspirations of youth, and cultivate a new generation of leaders who will drive socio-economic development.Behind the success of the HIRAAL Youth Centre is a team of dedicated individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of young people. Muna Mohamed Ali, an experienced social worker, leads the centre with unwavering dedication. With her expertise and commitment, she ensures that the centre remains a safe and empowering space for all.

The impact of HIRAAL Youth Center can be seen in the inspiring stories of the young people it serves. Suhayla Yusuf Mohamed, is a recent graduate of the tailoring course who has transformed her passion for fashion design into a tangible skill set. With the knowledge she gained from the center, she is now ready to launch herself  as a fashion designer and entrepreneur, creating opportunities for herself and her community.

Munasar Khadar Yusuf enrolled in the Multimedia Trainings program the centre with no knowledge of multimedia. He quickly excelled and became one of the program's top students. He credits this training as a life changing experience, that helped him discover his passion for software development. He is  now pursuing a degree in Software Engineering. His journey is a testament to the transformative power of the center and the opportunities it offers.

Ugbad Ahmed Ali is a compassionate and knowledgeable public health professional, who works tirelessly to provide counseling and support to the youth. With her degree in nutrition, a master's in public health from the University of Hargeisa, and a nursing diploma from a UNFPA partner institution, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role. Her dedication extends beyond the center and helping young people go beyond routine exams and counseling. She has now taken the initiative to learn sign language to effectively communicate with deaf youth who visit the center, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Serving as a platform for collaboration and community engagement, the center provides Local organizations, such as Hal Dhor, access to its co-working spaces, fostering a collaborative working environment for small and grassroots organisations. A unique and notable program offered by Hal Dhor is public speaking courses that empower young people to voices and share their stories.

Ayaan Hussien Korse is the Education Manager at HIRAAL and plays a crucial role in ensuring the effective implementation of educational programs. With a Master's degree in Public Health from Amoud University, Ayaan is instrumental in monitoring teachers and supporting educational initiatives. She is dedicated to her work and deals with challenges with the belief that she is making a lasting impact on the lives of young people.

Fisa Ahmed Abdi Rahman is a Business Administration student at Hargeisa University, and is currently attending a two-month makeup course at the center. Her goal is to contribute to her community by establishing her own beauty salon business. Fisa's determination and entrepreneurial spirit exemplify the mindset of many young people who see education and skills as pathways to creating opportunities for themselves and uplifting those around them.

The HIRAAL Youth Centre has become an example of the transformative impact of youth investment. The centre serves as an inspiring reminder of what can be accomplished when young people receive the support and resources they need to thrive. The impact of disseminating information and understanding about reproductive and sexual health, supporting decisions about health and hygiene, and imparting important employable skills has been clear. From a refugee holding space, it has transformed into a thriving centre of empowerment where young people can access to the knowledge, resources, and skills they need to build their own future.

UNFPA continues its mission to empower youth and encourages young people to be active participants in social development. Together, we are constructing a more promising future where youth are given a voice, aspirations are realized, and voices are heard.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNFPA Somalia.